Apple Pays $5MM To Make Touch Patent Lawsuit Go Away

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Photo by For Inspiration Only - http://flic.kr/p/7PxBMW
Photo by For Inspiration Only - http://flic.kr/p/7PxBMW

With billions in the bank, sometimes it is cheaper to pay a few bucks rather than spend time in court. That apparently is the logic behind a $5 million settlement announced in a patent-infringement lawsuit filed against Apple. Despite little chance of a courtroom win, a Taiwan-based touchpad maker is proclaiming victory.


Elan Microelectronics Corporation told Reuters about the settlement. The company had sued Apple in a Northern California court, claiming the tech giant’s iOS devices infringed two patents surrounding multitouch interfaces. The settlement may have been the company’s best option, given the International trade Court had twice ruled against a similar case.

However, talk that Elan might appeal its earlier ITC loss may have prompted Apple to open its change purse, as well as ink a cross-licensing pact to get the company off the iPhone maker’s back. Reports indicate while there was little chance of Apple losing in court, the action was more of an unneeded hassle.

Apple, not surprisingly, had no comment.

After all, Apple’s lawyers are still busy tangling with their courtroom buddy Samsung, as well as determining the fate of Android. The payout reminds me of buying a flyswatter to get rid of an annoying mosquito buzzing around. On to bigger things — and bigger flyswatters.