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Apple pays $5 million to settle Elan lawsuit over touch

updated 07:35 am EST, Thu January 5, 2012

Apple manages tiny settlement to dodge Elan suit

Apple on Thursday opted to settle to end Elan's lawsuit over two multi-touch patents. Elan said Apple had paid a relatively small $5 million to avoid a final trial and a possible ban on iOS devices and Macs. The two would cross-license patents as part of the exchange, although it's not clear what Apple would give up in return.

Elan may have been denied more than it hoped for. It lost an ITC trade dispute last April and was denied the bargaining chip of a possible product ban to push Apple into settling for more. Earlier estimates had suggested Apple might pay as much as $70 million to end the Elan case.

Apple itself had counter-sued Elan, but this will have come to an end with the settlement.

Most aggressive patent lawsuits in the US rely on ITC complaints on the side to speed up the case by getting a favorable patent ruling well before the trial finishes. Losing doesn't necessarily end the case, but it often means the target will have been found not to be violating patents and that the court isn't likely to contradict the ITC's view.

By Electronista Staff


  1. chippie

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2009


    Utterly Shameful!!!

    the entire patent system needs an overhaul. As it stands rich companies make a complete mockery of it.

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2009


    not Elan's invention

    Read the original article. Elan bought the patents from Logitech. I don't know how many of the 200 touch patents Apple actually "invented" but they put them into products they are actually selling. Elan appears to make touchpads only for PCs and their product video on their main website looks like they're running it on an aluminum MacBook using the same multi-finger controls Apple uses. Who own's these patents, Apple or Elan/LogiTech?

    If Apple can finish the cross-suits with Elan for only $5M, that's probably a good financial deal. Court costs for any of these trials could easily be 10x this amount. Just move on to the next one.

    @chippie, as for Apple being able to buy their way out of this suit, what about Elan buying patents they never invented just to sue Apple? Who's at fault?

  1. freddymac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2010


    Hey chippie,

    How are you today? Does your mommy know you are on the computer again? Shame on you. Be a good little pathetic troll and get back to your room. You don't want mommy to get mad at you again. It's too bad you can't be a real human-being and play nice with the rest of the world. Maybe then you could get out from underneath that slimy rock in your mommy's basement. Best of luck to you buddy.

  1. chippie

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2009



    The patents were part of a division of logitech that was being sold. The division also was devoted to exactly the same developmental work that Elan does. So it was logical for them to buy it. You are just speculating and using supposition in regards to Elan's intentions because that is all you can do if you aren't a part of the team running the company. Hundreds, if not thousands of components go into making apple products, surely you don't think apple "invented" each of those components! Component developers are very important to the electronics industry.
    Further, we don't yet know what else besides $5M was agreed. Elan and apple make a good fit. Perhaps, apple should do business with them. And apple settled not Elan, so there is your fault!

  1. chippie

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2009



    Anyone reading these comments see you for what you are. No need for me to elaborate! Do yourself a favor
    and delete your personal attack( or was that a pertinent comment?).

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    $5 million from two perspectives

    Apple: "$5 million? Wow. That was cheap."

    Elan: "$5 million? Yay! We're rich!"

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