Taiwan's Elan sues Apple over touchscreen patents

TAIPEI Tue Apr 7, 2009 10:12pm EDT

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TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan chip designer Elan Microelectronics is suing Apple in the United States for what is says is infringement of two of its touchscreen technology patents by the MacBook, iPhone and iPod Touch.

Elan said in a statement released on Wednesday that it owned the rights to technology that allowed Apple's products to detect the position of the finger on a touchscreen or touchpad.

It said it previously won a similar lawsuit against Synaptics Inc, and would be seeking an injunction to stop the sales of any Apple products that had infringed on its patents.

The company did not say how much in compensation they were seeking.

Apple officials were not immediately available for comment.

At 9:37 p.m. EDT, Elan shares were up 0.9 percent, outperforming the benchmark TAIEX share index's 0.2 percent advance.

Touchscreens have moved into the mainstream of mobile phone technology since they were first popularized by Apple's iPhone, and many other smartphone makers such as Research in Motion have also pushed out their own lines since then.

(Reporting by Roger Tung and Kelvin Soh; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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