Apple Lawsuit to Go On, Elan Says, Denying Settlement Rumor

Elan Microelectronics plans to continue its patent lawsuit against Apple over multitouch technology and said a reported US$100 million settlement proposal from Apple was untrue.

The Taiwanese chip designer sued Apple in April 2009, alleging the infringement of two U.S. patents related to touch technology. At the time, the company asked a federal court in the U.S. to prohibit Apple from producing, using and selling iPhones, iPod touches and MacBooks over the alleged violation.

Last year, Elan increased the pressure on Apple by asking the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban any Apple device which might infringe on its patents, just ahead of the release of the iPad.

Since then, both cases have remained ongoing, with little word on an expected outcome.

On Tuesday, the company held its fourth quarter investors conference in Taipei.

Taiwan's Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported Wednesday that during the conference Elan Chairman I.H. Yeh said he expected an ITC ruling as early as mid-April and that Elan was considering a settlement proposed from Apple for US$100 million.

A spokesman for Elan, Dennis Liu, however, said the news report was untrue, that there is no settlement proposal on the table, and that the lawsuit against Apple remained ongoing. He said he knew of no time frame for a resolution of the court case or the ITC case.

A video attached to the Economic Daily News story, which shows Elan's chairman talking about the company's expectations for this year, makes no mention of Apple.

Elan makes chips and other products for touchscreen and touchpad controls that are used in laptops and smartphones. The devices allow people to use multitouch functions such as swiping, zooming and rotating images on a screen as well as taps, swipes and gesturing.

The company reported that its revenue rose 32 percent year-on-year to NT$6 billion (US$203.1 million) in 2010, and its net profit increased 71 percent to NT$708 million.

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