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.