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Multi-Touch Tech Firm Seeks iPad Sales Injunction

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the good-luck-with-that dept.

Patents 148

An anonymous reader writes "Taiwan-based Elan Microelectronics just filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission alleging that Apple is infringing on its patents and violating the Tariff Act, and is seeking a ban on imports of the iPad as well as an order to stop selling the mobile device along with iPhones, iPods, and Macs. The move was taken as a 'continuation of our efforts to enforce our patent rights against Apple's ongoing infringement,' the company said." Considering many iPad pre-orders have tracking #s already, I suspect it might be a little late.

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first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31673886)

Should be good for fags

How do you say (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31673898)

'Don't touch me there' in Chinese?

Re:How do you say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31673938)

Please keep your orange sauce to yourself?

Re:How do you say (5, Funny)

knappe duivel (914316) | more than 4 years ago | (#31673996)

'Don't multi-touch me there' in Chinese?

fixed that for you

Re:How do you say (0, Redundant)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674368)

In case you have sigs turned off: Let's have a voluntary moratorium on "fixed that for ya" replies. They have long since ceased to be witty.

-Peter

Re:How do you say (4, Funny)

knappe duivel (914316) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674418)

I must be new here

Re:How do you say (3, Insightful)

SOdhner (1619761) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674568)

I think that depends on the "fix". I've seen some pretty fantastic ones that are funny, insightful, or both. Of course I also see a lot of stupid ones, but if we stop the "fixed that for ya" replies a new meme will just step in to fill the void because the real problem is people who think something like that takes the place of quality content rather than accenting whatever is (or isn't) there to begin with.

Re:How do you say (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31674594)

Yeah, while we're at it let's make sure that nobody posts anything that Peter doesn't want to read.

From now on, all posts must be pre-approved by Peter.

Who is with me?

Re:How do you say (2, Funny)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674900)

Mmmm. I'm not sold.

-Peter

Re:How do you say (0)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674924)

OT: Let's have a voluntary moratorium on "fixed that for ya" replies. They have long since ceased to be witty.

They're not meant to be witty. They're meant to make the replier feel superior. HTH.

Re:How do you say (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31674710)

Let's all hail the "fixed that for ya" replies. They never get old.

-Peter

fixed that for you

Re:How do you say (1)

need4mospd (1146215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675966)

In Soviet Russia, reply fixes you.

Re:How do you say (0, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674642)

>>> 'I like to be touched' in Chinese?

I like this version better. :-) Reminds me of those old Nintendo DS ads. Or this old Samatha Fox song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiuimDNlyuQ [youtube.com]

And still looking rather fine at age 40: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tr7omqkY5A [youtube.com]

Re:How do you say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31674946)

"Wo mei you yuan" (I don't have money) usually works very well.

did anything come of the last suit? (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31673920)

They sued Apple a year ago [washingtonpost.com] with essentially the same complaint about the iPhone, iPod Touch, and MacBook.

Re:did anything come of the last suit? (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31673976)

Oh, I guess the article already says what came of it: it's still being litigated, as Apple was granted an extension to respond to it.

Re:did anything come of the last suit? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675948)

"Apple was granted an extension to respond to it."

Which I don't understand, because Apple already owns a patent on multi-touch [uspto.gov] , how can you sue the patent holder for infringement of their own patent?

Apple's patent:
"A computer-implemented method for use in conjunction with a computing device with a touch screen display comprises: detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display, applying one or more heuristics to the one or more finger contacts to determine a command for the device, and processing the command. The one or more heuristics comprise: a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a one-dimensional vertical screen scrolling command, a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a two-dimensional screen translation command, and a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a command to transition from displaying a respective item in a set of items to displaying a next item in the set of items."

If they don't like it they can complain to the USPTO like everyone else.

Even if they didn't multi-touch and "pinching" was demonstrated way back in 1991, [youtube.com] long before anyone filed a patent

Re:did anything come of the last suit? (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31676460)

You can have multiple overlapping patents, for example MP3. Something like 13 different entities patented various overlapping chunks of MP3. The way patent extortion works here is that you have to license all the patents to avboid being sued. In general, companies pay off the top few leeching extortionists and ignore the rest for mp3, sometimes leading to suits.

This i sjust one more piece of how patents are a minefield for legitimate innovators.

Re:did anything come of the last suit? (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675374)

It's ongoing. Which is why with the release of the iPad they are seeking an injunction against the sale of their products. They aren't suing them again, they are trying to stop the sale of the products to apply more pressure to Apple.

Wait... (4, Interesting)

AequitasVeritas (712728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31673936)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isnt Apple suing HTC over, among other patents, multi-touch? Now Apple is being sued over the same thing?

So who actually owns this patent?

Re:Wait... (4, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674036)

I am secretly hopeful that this will eventually turn into a great big litigation circle-jerk.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31674202)

Everyone, that's the main problem with the patent system. patents are increasingly broad and granted with very little review. thus a patent over a jukebox can be seen to cover mp3 players.
the entire system needs to be thrown out. the only way a patent ever makes money is by suing someone who actually makes a product. if the idea was so good in the first place you would have obviously taken it to market.

Re:Wait... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675526)

There are two kinds of idiot on slashdot - those who don't know what a false dichotomy is, and those who don't care.

Re:Wait... (4, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674270)

It's tricky and unless you know more details about the specific case, it's hard to say who actually owns what. This is what I know from the case:

Apple bought a company called Fingerworks [wikipedia.org] in 2005. Fingeworks made multi-touch keyboard and mice. Shortly after bought by Apple, Fingerworks ceased to sell or make any products. The best guess is that Apple bought Fingerworks solely for it's patents and technology. As of August 2008, Fingerworks continued to file patents.

Apple releases the iPhone in 2007. Elan Microelectronics sues them thereafter.

When looking at these patent cases, there has to be certainty about the specific technology involved. Multi-touch is large collection of differing technologies. MS Surface for example relies on cameras whereas the iPhone appears to use capacitance. The devil is in the details and that's what lawyers are for.

Re:Wait... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31675066)

The details are in the lawyers and that's what the devil is for.

Fix'd. (I don't even know what this means, but it sounds profound, and it feels right.)

Re:Wait... (2, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674296)

I believe that Apple is suing HTC over gestures which use multi-touch.

The patent in this suit is related to sensing multi-touch, and is therefore a prerequisite to doing multi-touch gestures. Here's the patent [google.com] .

I have no idea of what relationship there is between Elan and Logitech (who was awarded the patent).

Re:Wait... (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674404)

Apple bought fingerworks in 2005. They have their implementation of multitouch.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FingerWorks [wikipedia.org]

That doesn't say who owns the patents, but this shows how stupid America pushing IP is... it's just going to bite us back bigtime when India/China compete on the high end.

Re:Wait... (3, Funny)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674512)

Because 2,495,510,734 people can't be wrong.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31676340)

2,495,512,936 now.

Re:Wait... (3, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674660)

"this shows how stupid America pushing IP is... it's just going to bite us back bigtime when India/China compete on the high end"

So... the argument against an IP framework is that those dern ferners might benefit from it too when they're the ones doing the innovative work? That soudns a bit nationalistic to say the least...

Re:Wait... (1, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674886)

So... the argument against an IP framework is that those dern ferners might benefit from it too when they're the ones doing the innovative work? That soudns a bit nationalistic to say the least...

My argument is, with China graduating 1,000,000+ engineers every year, it will be hard to compete in our own existing framework of vague and broad patents because they can certainly write as many or more as we do. Since they also have the manufacturing base, to get anything made, we'll have to fight in their courts if it ever comes to that.

The competition is welcome, expanding a crappy framework the world over is not. It's bad enough as it is now.

Re:Wait... (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675116)

Nah no worries there, at that point Apple et. al. moves their R n D department to China, mega corps gets to keep their patents and the rest of us suffer as usual.

Re:Wait... (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31676492)

Eh as much as I hate IP bullshit, what precisely would America export if not IP? Food and weapons aren't going to carry us forever.

Re:Wait... (3, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674566)

This kind of confusion is what comes of seeing a patent that covers a method of doing something that facilitates X, and calling it "the patent on doing X". It's not. There is no such thing as "the patent on multi-touch".

There can be, and probably are, many patents related to multi-touch. It's quite possible, since there's more than one way to implement multi-touch, that you could own a patent related to mullti-touch and I could make multi-touch devices without licesning or infringing your patent.

Troll Worthy? (1, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31673944)

This depends on if they can prove that negotiations have failed. If there were little to no negotiations, then this appears to be nothing more than a Troll looking to strike while the iron's hot (or to hurt when the competitor is weakest). But for all we know, they could have been in negotiations for months/years, which would give them some credibility... But seriously, the iPhone's been out for what, 3 years?

/me is starting to get sick of all the trolls...

Re:Troll Worthy? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674316)

These guys have a lawsuit pending against Apple, this is an injunction request to prevent further infringement pending to outcome of the lawsuit.

On the surface at least, it sounds legit, as Apple has been fighting a number of patent lawsuits regarding their iPhone since its release.

Re:Troll Worthy? (1)

rivertripper (1093277) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675310)

Elan sued Synaptic in 2006, before the iPhone was launched. In 2008 they won and Synaptic licensed Elan's multi-touch technology. I suppose they wanted to win their patent suit before going after Apple.

Apple being sued for stealing? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31673956)

What else is new?

Re:Apple being sued for stealing? (-1, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674232)

What else is new?

This is actually correct. Apple has been infringing patents from pretty much everyone and Nokia is also trying to protect their patents. Apple on the other hand just keeps infringing those patents, but at the same time itself sues everyone under the sun for infringing their patents.

Re:Apple being sued for stealing? (2, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674518)

Apple on the other hand just keeps infringing those patents, but at the same time itself sues everyone under the sun for infringing their patents.

What's unique about Apple? I thought this was just how the whole (broken) system worked, and everyone did the same.

Re:Apple being sued for stealing? (1, Redundant)

Altus (1034) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674580)

[citation needed]

Re:Apple being sued for stealing? (0, Troll)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674760)

A citation shouldn't be needed for things that have appeared on slashdot a dozen times, is in fact common knowledge, and is also so easily findable that even your grandmother could google it.

This is exactly why we have a legal system (0)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675024)

A citation shouldn't be needed for things that have appeared on slashdot a dozen times, is in fact common knowledge...

Um... because if an article wherein Nokia claims Apple is infringing is proof of fault, and "common knowledge" that Apple is violating patents is equivalent to a court ruling?

Let's crowdsource the HTC v. Apple tangle, too. What does everyone think? Based on what we've seen from short press pieces and a flurry of Slashdot comments and the mood of the crowd, how should we decide their arguments?

Re:This is exactly why we have a legal system (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31676282)

Let's crowdsource the HTC v. Apple tangle, too. What does everyone think? Based on what we've seen from short press pieces and a flurry of Slashdot comments and the mood of the crowd, how should we decide their arguments?

That Apple is bullying HTC.

It would actually be a lot better if slashdot crowd could rule patent fights outcome.

Re:Apple being sued for stealing? (2, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675026)

I'm taking all of these Company A is suing Company B which is suing Company C messes as a clear sign that the patent system (and in extension the entire Intellectual Property system) is slowly imploding. These days you couldn't invent the wheel without someone suing you since they own patents on "crafting an item out of a material", "objects made of matter" or any other silliness (I'm sure some pro-patent shill is going to start whining about how patents are needed to protect the little guy and whatever but in all honesty, the little guy can't afford patents, and if he is able to afford a patent or two the corporate giants will simply say "that's nice, here are 50 of our patents you're infringing on, now what do you think of our offer to purchase your patents/company for $low_sum?").

Re:Apple being sued for stealing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31675372)

Hi, I am OP.

Of course it is correct. However anything here on AppleDot.com that is even perceived as anti-Apple is immediately modded. Even your post got modded. Same as it ever was.

Patent Trolls (-1, Troll)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31673986)

I'm not saying Elan Microelectronics doesn't have a patent, however didn't they kinda give up their rights when they stayed silent when the iPhone launched three years ago?

Re:Patent Trolls (3, Informative)

sir_eccles (1235902) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674136)

Thus proving that you didn't RTFA

Re:Patent Trolls (0, Offtopic)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674402)

This is Slashdot, where it's standard to not RTFA.

Re:Patent Trolls (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31674470)

You must be new here....

Re:Patent Trolls (2, Informative)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674148)

you don't lose patents just by being slow to enforce them(I think they're already suing in any case).

It's trademarks you lose if you fail to enforce them.

copyright patents and trademarks are 3 completely different things even if people like to lump them together under "IP"

Re:Patent Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31676508)

Supposedly, you don't lose the patents, but you may get significantly reduced damages if you wait until the defendant has been infringing on the patent for a long time before suing them.

Re:Patent Trolls (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674164)

You don't actually lose your patent rights when not going after an infringement or a patent initially. The actual consequences depend on the jurisdiction. In most of Europe, for example, you would severely compromise your position in subsequent litigation, though. Especially if the opposite site can raise doubts whether you acted in good faith, e.g. you didn't know about the infringement, or out of malice, to make more cash by trollish litigation.

Re:Patent Trolls (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675030)

True you don't lose your rights. The legal term you are looking for is laches [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Patent Trolls (5, Interesting)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674446)

didn't they kinda give up their rights when they stayed silent when the iPhone launched three years ago?

You mean when they began patent negotiations, and finally sued for patent infringement a year ago? You can't sue for patent infringement until someone actually infringes on your patent. Two years is not a long time when it comes to doing research and preparing for a patent infringement lawsuit, and it was Apple who requested the trial be delayed so they could prepare. You might have a point if they had waited five or ten years, but at this point any patent infringement lawsuit against the iPhone is still within a reasonable time-frame. It is Apple who is delaying and stalling and generally being a douchebag toward the rest of the cell phone industry here.

This is Elan Microelectronics basically saying Apple should not be permitted to release a new potentially infringing product while they have litigation in progress that directly concerns the type product they are releasing.

I think their position is completely reasonable, but I'll admit I might think differently if I were an Apple fan.

Re:Patent Trolls (-1, Troll)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674554)

Well, I am generally an Apple fan, however if what you say is right then Slashdot is also to blame because this "news" is a year late?

Patent Trolls should maintain their patents (4, Interesting)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 4 years ago | (#31676130)

Apparently the patent in question, 5,825,352, has expired due to failure to pay maintenance fees [uspto.gov] as of Oct 20, 2006.

So if the patent is expired, what basis are they suing on?

Re:Patent Trolls (3, Informative)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675752)

Short answer: No. The statute of limitations on patent infringement is six years. And in the case of ongoing infringement, even if you miss the six year mark from when infringement started, you can still get damages back to six years from when you filed your law suit.

ipod? (1)

Aeros (668253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674058)

or on the ipod complaint..didnt the ipod come out around 7 years ago?

Re:ipod? (1)

AequitasVeritas (712728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674144)

The article mentions specifically the iPod Touch.

Re:ipod? (-1, Flamebait)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674474)

Multi-touch ipods didn't, dumbass.

And Macs? (0)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674098)

Where are these multi-touch Macs, and where can I buy one?

Re:And Macs? (2, Informative)

javakah (932230) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674180)

The trackpads on the Macbooks are multi-touch.

Re:And Macs? (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674254)

as is that new mouse thing they released.

Re:And Macs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31674274)

Umm, the apple store. I believe all MacBooks now have multi-touch trackpads.

Re:And Macs? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31674314)

Way to look like an idiot man!

If their customs works like ours (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674106)

Considering many iPad pre-orders have tracking #s already, I suspect it might be a little late.

If their customs process works like the one in the U.S., they'll just throw all the iPads in a locked room, tell the would be recipients that they are just out the money and that they owe them for the costs of storage, destruction, and disposal and that furthermore, they may feel free to FOAD.

Re:If their customs works like ours (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674168)

Does Apple ship products to customers straight from China, or wherever they're made?

Lenovo does - buy a thinkpad and it arrives in a box with a taiwanese or chinese return address, I forget which. But then, Lenovo has headquarters there.

Re:If their customs works like ours (2, Informative)

joebok (457904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674294)

Mine started out in SHENZHEN, CN and is now in LOUISVILLE, KY. Hopefully past customs and unstoppable!

Re:If their customs works like ours (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674456)

Yes, and they have for years. Surprised the heck out of me when my first ibook's origin was China.

HTC buying this company (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31674192)

Am I the only one who is seeing HTC buying this company?

Pre-orders (0, Offtopic)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674388)

Considering many iPad pre-orders have tracking #s already.. many iPad pre-orders.. who in their right mind would order, let alone pre-order a- hm nevermind.

How do they get these patents? (4, Insightful)

Mark19960 (539856) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674390)

Yes I know that prior art is not a slam dunk defense but with all of the prior art regarding 'multi-touch' I can't understand how these companies
managed to get it patented.
It seems that everyone has patented the idea except for the people that had it first!
And it appears that it was not Apple, Google, HTC, or even these guys....

I should patent something random and start to sue people myself, obviously someone is making money doing it.

Ugh (3, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674576)

This is why I don't want to take out patents for my invention. They don't seem to actually protect you from litigation, and they hinder the development and deployment of new technologies. Why should I have to wait until some worthless dipshit company's patent expires to buy an iPad? Why should there be a million lawyers involved in developing new technology (about the only people worse for technology than politicians are lawyers). Patents are a terrible idea. All the most successful technology companies simply ignore them (in a practical sense) and leave the issue for their lawyers to deal with.

Re:Ugh (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674650)

"They don't seem to actually protect you from litigation,"

You need patent to be able to sue, not the other way.

Re:Ugh (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674754)

I have been told that I will need to take out patents in order to shield investors and customers from potential future litigation. In fact, my business partner and co-inventor has insisted on it, even while agreeing to issue a blanket license allowing anyone to use the patented technology for any reason without written consent.

Re:Ugh (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675858)

That's called a defensive patent, and is exemplified by the patent portfolios of IBM and Microsoft, just to pick two. The idea is that if it turns out you've infringed on someone else's patent, you can threaten them with yours, and the result is usually a cross-licensing deal.

But none of that invalidates the fact that, if a company (like, say, Fingerworks) pours millions developing a key technology like multitouch, it seems reasonable that another company like, say, Apple, shouldn't be allowed to simply steal that technology without having to pay for it (in this case, they bought the company).

Re:Ugh (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674712)

Patents are worth exactly nothing unless you can pay to defend them, and unless you're the size of Apple you can't.

So getting patents is not really about protecting your use of the technology, it's about giving you something to fight back with if another big name ever tries to sue you for use of their technology. When you're fighting the little guy you just plan to outspend them (or if necessary, to buy them).

Re:Ugh (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674830)

But the justification given for patents in the U.S. Constitution is basically that they "promote innovation". Large companies don't even need patent protection since they have the funding to develop new technologies. And yet, due to the expense of patent litigation, large companies are the only parties that generally benefit from patents. This situation is unacceptable, to say the least.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31675112)

It also says copyright is for the promotion of "useful arts and sciences". What has, say, Lindsey Lohan (for example) ever done that was either useful or scientific?

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31675232)

Boobs?

Re:Ugh (2, Funny)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674762)

Why should I have to wait until some worthless dipshit company's patent expires to buy an iPad?

Apple's patents aren't stopping you from buying an iPad now.

Re:Ugh (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675830)

Why should I have to wait until some worthless dipshit company's patent expires to buy an iPad?

Because that worthless dipshit company may have spent years and millions of dollars developing that technology, and the US was held, as a principle for a very long time, that such investments should be rewarded by a temporary monopoly so that one can benefit from those efforts?

Re:Ugh (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31676096)

Why should I have to wait until some worthless dipshit company's patent expires to buy an iPad?

I don't know anything about the patent in question, how obvious it is, whether it's software, etc. However, the general answer seems to be: because that "worthless dipshit company" invested time and resources into researching and developing the concept that they had patented, and because Apple used that concept in their device without paying the inventors their fair share.

- yours, Captain Obvious

Re:Ugh (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31676406)

That's all well and good, but it seems that Apple has spent quite a lot of time and money on the technology as well. Not to mention they've done more than anyone to popularize it. It doesn't make sense to say that Apple shouldn't have a right to sell it, patents or not. You know something's wrong when the "solution" is actually perpetuating the problem it was intended to solve.

Elantech has actual products. (2, Informative)

krzy123 (1201507) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674844)

Elantech makes the multi-touch trackpads in the eeePC.

History of Multi-Touch (5, Informative)

rivertripper (1093277) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674952)

I have been following this story since April of 2009. This link http://www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html [billbuxton.com] is the best explanation of how multi-touch technology was created.

This just in :o (1)

viamptor (1777236) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675150)

Elan Micro Electronics just issued a press release We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it,” said Mr I. H. Yeh, ELAN MICRO ELECTRONICS CEO. “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

Re:This just in :o (1)

Robin47 (1379745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675494)

Elan Micro Electronics just issued a press release We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it,” said Mr I. H. Yeh, ELAN MICRO ELECTRONICS CEO. “We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

Think you hold of a couple more days? My iPad should be here by then.

I am going to sue everyone! (1)

Montezumaa (1674080) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675402)

I am going to patent the patent system in the US, then sue everyone who has obtained a patent. Sadly, I am sure the U.S. Patent Office would issue me a patent, then continue to violate my patent. Of course, I am sure the courts will hear all of my cases, then issue injunctions against everyone. Shortly after that, someone would divide by zero and reset the entire world. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I don't think they'll win, on iPhone/iPad. (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675464)

1) Bit misleading IMO to talk about this in terms of a "multi-touch tech" company using "their" patents. The patent in question was granted in 1998... to Logitech (it was applied-for in 1996). The patent has changed hands since then. This company didn't acquire the patents in question until something like 2008.

2) Having read the patent, I don't think the iPhone and iPad infringe. Go read the actual text. Looks to me like it actually relates to touchpads attached to computers, used in an environment that was built around the mouse, and how to use multitouch gestures to improve trackpad functionality. So, yeah, if the patent is legit and all, I absolutely think the MacBook that lets you scroll with two fingers (emulating a mouse wheel) would infringe. But I don't think the iPhone or iPad (which were not designed around mice and don't really have a concept of a cursor as such) necessarily infringe.

Of course, IANAL, so nobody should trust me. Go read it yourself! Especially if you're a lawyer.

Re:I don't think they'll win, on iPhone/iPad. (1)

rivertripper (1093277) | more than 4 years ago | (#31676004)

The Fingerwork touchpad was a input devise attached to a computer. When Apple purchased Fingerworks the got their mult-touch patent which was used to create the multi-touch for the iPhone and iPad. So why is Elan's patent they purchased from Logitech not applicable against Apple?

And where's Logitech? (2, Interesting)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675586)

According to TFA, the patent in question is US Patent No. 5,825,352. According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Steven Bisset and Bernard Kasser are the sole inventors (filed 1996) of the multi-touch tech - and Logitech was the assignee as of 1998.

According to this link, Elan was launched to do semiconductor R&D in 1994, per http://www.computex.biz/elan/ [computex.biz]

SO - unless Elan bought this Logitech something's terribly wrong with the article. Can anyone help me with this?

Elan is winning local awards, see - http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-200983370.html [highbeam.com]

but the idea that they themselves invented the tech on the patent in question is not accurate. Here's their list of their achievements - http://www.emc.com.tw/eng/about_elan1_3.asp [emc.com.tw]

I'm a little confused here. Nothing wrong with selling technology and if Logitech did that, fine - but this sure seems like there's a lot more to this than "Apple rips off Taiwanese firm" - in my opinion.

Re:And where's Logitech? (1)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675848)

you don't have to be the original patent holder to currently hold the patent.

Re:And where's Logitech? (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675990)

As I noted.

Re:And where's Logitech? (1)

krzy123 (1201507) | more than 4 years ago | (#31676108)

Elan bought the original patent from Logitech.

Re:And where's Logitech? (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31676154)

k, thanks - I was having trouble finding that...

Know writing capability (1)

jweller13 (1148823) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675674)

I don't really follow Apple closely so I was surprised to find out that the ipad doesn't have screen writing capability? I'd assumed it did since tablet PCs have that capability.
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