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Apple paying Taiwan's Elan $5 million to settle multitouch patent dispute

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Despite an ITC ruling in Apple's favor, the Cupertino company has agreed to pay Taiwan's Elan Microelectronics $5 million to settle a patent dispute relating to multitouch.


Apple’s decided to pay Taiwan’s Elan Microelectronics $5 million in an out of court settlement, reports Reuters. The dispute dates back to April of 2009 when Elan, emboldened by a legal victory against rival Synaptics, initially sued Apple for infringing on two of its multitouch patents, only to face a countersuit from Apple in October the same year. Since then, Elan filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) back in March of 2010 in an attempt to block US imports of Apple's products (they're manufactured overseas, remember), only to have its claim dismissed in April of last year. ITC rulings don’t have any binding effect on district courts though, and Apple has paid the relatively small fee — less than a hundredth of one percent of Cupertino's $81 billion in cash — to avoid a Northern District of California trial slated for February 27th.

The settlement also allows the two companies to cross-license one another's patents. An Apple spokeswoman told Reuters, "the cross-licensing agreement gives Elan access to two of Apple's Touch patents, but none of the innovations that make iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch unique."