Last week, ComputerWorld reported Elan, a touch-pad manufacturer, petitioned the United States International Trade Commission requesting the Commission ban all imports of Apple's new iPad. Elan and Apple are currently involved in patent infringement litigation regarding the "touch-pad" function of Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple's line of MacBooks. Elan has alleged that Apple used two of the company's patents for "touch-pad" technology without their permission and refuses to properly compensate the company for creating the technology. Apple is denying the allegation and is also counter-suing Elan for infringing three of its patents for "touch-pad" technology.
Ban on Imports
Although Apple is an American company, all of its products are manufactured by two Chinese IT solutions companies, Foxconn and Inventec.Â Apple contracts with these Chinese manufacturers to produce their product and they in turn ship the products back to the U.S. for sale.
U.S. International Trade Commission
The International Trade Commission is a independent organization that "with broad investigative responsibilities on matters of trade. Among other things, the Commission also adjudicates cases involving imports that allegedly infringe intellectual property rights."Â Â If the International Trade Commission determines that Apple violated Trade Laws by importing infringing products, the Commission could ban all Apple "touch-pad" technology into the U.S.
I doubt the International Trade Commission will issue such a ban on Apple's "touch-pad" products.Â Both Elan and Apple are claiming patent infringement and are entrenched in patent infringement litigation.Â I think the International Trade Commission may await the result of any settlement or court decision before making such a decision.Â I think we all have to wait until the dust settles on this one.