Hsinchu, Taiwan –According to press report, Apple Incorporated has been issued multi-touch patent (US patent number 7479949) on January 20, 2009. Without doubt, the news has indeed created a shockwave in the touch screen market. However, is the actual content of the patent the same as what the market has talked about?
Some market experts have expressed that the issued of Apple's multi-touch patent might adversely affect ELAN's competitiveness in the multi-touch market in some way. ELAN, as Taiwan's leading Multi-Finger touch screen IC designer, feels that the market has over estimated Apple's 949 patent. The content of the 949 patent is quite broad and widespread as it might seem like an iPhone user's manual. However, the final scope of claim granted is mainly based on an angle of initial movement of a finger contact with respect to the touch screen display to determined one or two dimensional command. Although the patent comprises of 20 items covering software, firmware, and memory storage, its scope is actually limited within the establishment of the one and two-dimensional commands mechanism. Simply speaking, it emphasizes more on one or two-dimensional commands finger gesture recognition rather than about multi-touch technology. Hence, to make things unmistakably clear, having a multi-touch feature can not be interpreted as an infringement of the 949 patent.
As to the ongoing reports that Apple's 949 patent will have an unfavorable blow to ELAN's competitiveness, ELAN explains that there is actually no conflict between the multi-touch technologies used by ELAN and Apple. None of ELAN's current customers are using or plan to adopt the patent claim in the future. Therefore, the approval of the 949 patent will have no adverse effect on ELAN's expanding Multi-Finger market. As to the 949 patent's market value, ELAN feels that the general consumers, as viewed by the major players in the handset industry, are not enthusiastic or feel the need of operating their mobile phones with the “one and two-dimensional” commands.
On its own Multi-Finger touch screen technology, ELAN emphasizes that the technology, with its basic Handwriting Recognition (HWR) function, the paptent already been issued since 1998. Furthermore, the Multi-Finger patent validity has been reconfirmed by winning a patent litigation in USA. The Apple Patent 949 in other hand has only been recently approved or on last January 20th. ELAN Multi-Finger technology has attracted considerable attention from boh competitors and potential customers who are interested in arranging cooperation or cross licensing agreement with ELAN. As of this date, ELAN Multi-Finger technology is becoming an industry trend. Aside from continuing to provide total solutions to its customers, ELAN is also actively protecting its IP rights to safeguard the company's and its customers' interests.
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