Typhoon Touch Technologies added Apple, Toshiba, Palm, and several other companies to a lawsuit on Monday that alleges the companies are infringing on touch screen technology patents it owns. The case was originally filed in December 2007 against Dell and could, according to Typhoon, extend to "millions of devices" already on the market.
"The addition of these defendants is a further step in protecting Typhoonis IP from being unfairly exploited," said Craig Weiner, Director of Legal Affairs and Licensing for Typhoon. "Hopefully, the world of potential infringers will take notice that it is the companyis intent to aggressively protect its intellectual property."
Typhoon holds two patents it claims the companies are using without proper licensing. Patent 5,379,057 was issued in January 1995, and patent 5,675,362 was issued in October 1997. Both are titled "Portable Computer with Touch Screen and Computer System Employing Same," and the company claims that devices like smartphones, PDAs, and tablet PCs with touchscreen interfaces fall under their scope.
Appleis iPhone, iPod touch, and soon to be released iPhone 3G all use touch-based interfaces. Palm has been using touch technology ever since the release of its first PalmPilot PDA in 1996. The other companies named in the suit, including Panasonic, Fujitsu, Samsung, Nokia and LG also sport devices with touch-based interfaces.
Typhoon has already reached out of court settlements with Motion Computing and Electovaya.
Considering the growing trend towards touch-based computing interfaces, Typhoonis patent suits could have a significant impact on the adoption of the technology. What is more likely, however, is that the cases will be settled out of court and the real impact will an increase in Typhoonis profits.