Hsinchu, Taiwan –Elan Microelectronics Corporation announced that the United States District Court in California, at the request of Elan and Synaptics, Inc., has dismissed both pending patent lawsuits between Elan and Synaptics. Elan and Synaptics has filed a motion asking that the related appeal of a district court order currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit also be dismissed.
On Oct. 20, 2008 Elan and Synaptics agreed to settle the patent disputes, which involved touchpad input devices for computers and handheld devices. The terms of the settlement are confidential, but both companies are now cross-licensed to all of the patents asserted in the lawsuits. In addition, Synaptics agreed not to assert any other claims it may have had against Elan's products. The license and agreement not to sue extend to purchasers, re-sellers and customers for Elan's products. Regarding the cross-licensed fee, we may see a fruitful operating income in our financial statement
"We are very pleased to be able to put this dispute behind us," said Elan Chairman I.H. Yeh. "This agreement recognizes the importance of Elan's technology, and allows us to focus our attention on providing our customers with best possible touchpad solutions, while removing uncertainty from the marketplace," Yeh continued.
The settlement comes at a time when multi-finger capabilities of the type claimed in Elan's '352 patent, such as using two fingers to zoom in or out of a document, to rotate a document or for other commands, is becoming much more prevalent. "With this settlement we have resolved the use of the '352 patent by the market leader in laptop touchpads," Yeh stated. "Elan intends to continue its efforts to ensure that others in the market are not using this technology without a license.."
The legal proceedings began on March 10, 2006 when Elantech Devices Corp., then a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elan, filed suit against Synaptics in U.S. federal court in San Francisco, claiming that Synaptics' touchpads with the capability of detecting multiple fingers infringed Elan's U.S. Patent No. 5,825,352. (On October 1, 2008 Elantech was finally merged into Elan). Synaptics responded by alleging that Elan's touchpad products infringed four of its patents and on December 21, 2007 Synaptics initiated a second lawsuit alleging infringement of a fifth patent. The Settlement comes after the court granted Elan summary judgment that certain Synaptics touchpads infringed the '352 patent and issued an order enjoining Synaptics from selling those products in the United States.
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