Elan Hits Apple with Touchscreen Patent Suit

Taiwan-based Elan Microelectronics slapped Apple with a lawsuit claiming the MacBook, iPhone and iPod touch infringe on touchscreen patents it holds. The suit follows a breakdown in talks that began some two years ago, according to the New York Times.

Elan alleged that its case against Apple is similar to a suit against Synaptics that was recently settled in a cross-licensing agreement. That perceived win may have been enough to convince Elan to take on Apple.

“From their previous victory in the case with Synaptics, I think they should be quite confident,” said, Credit Suisse analyst Jessica Chang. “Elan believes they have a unique edge with this patent, and they want to send a signal to the market."

So far, it isn't clear what Elan is asking for out of the suit should it win. Presumably, the company will seek monetary damages along with an injunction prohibiting Apple from selling products that infringe on its patents.

Apple has not commented on the case.