The iPad, iPhone and iPod touch could have to be pulled from stores in the US just as the company releases the iPad to the public, after a Taiwanese company has claimed that the Cupertino based company is breaking one of its patents.
According to GigaOm, "Elan Microelectronics filed suit against Apple with the US International Trade Commission today, alleging that certain Apple products violate a multitouch patent previously awarded to the Taiwanese company".
The company, that has previously won multi-touch patent cases against Synaptics, has filed a claim with the International Trade Commission (ITC) claiming that Apple is breaking its patent, No. 7,274,353 if anyone's asking.
Elan describes their IP as “a fundamental patent to the detection of multi-fingers that allows for any subsequent multi-finger applications to be implemented”.
In a clever move, Elan is using a trick that Apple is currently trying to use on HTC.
Apple products are designed in Cupertino but assembled outside of the US, therefore any decision by the ITC would mean that it could stop Apple importing the products regardless of whether they've been proven to be breaking the patent or not.
If successful Apple would have to either license the technology or stop selling the products affected. Either way everyone is predicting it could get messy and expensive.