The US trade watchdog confirmed this week that it would investigate patent infringement allegations made by Elan Microelectronics against Apple last month.
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) said in a statement that it had voted to probe "certain electronic devices with multi-touch enabled touchpads and touchscreens," following Elan's complaint.
"The products at issue in this investigation are electronic devices such as mobile telephones and computers that have multi-touch user interfaces,” said the ITC.
Elan, a Taiwanese chip designer which sued the iPhone maker in 2009, stepped up its actions against Apple last month when it asked the ITC for an injunction barring imports of the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad.
The case will be assigned to one of the regulator's six administrative law judges, said the ITC. The complaint, filed with the US trade watchdog on 29 March this year, alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.
At this stage the ITC pointed out it had "not yet made any decision on the merits of the case," but Elan will nonetheless be pleased that an investigation has now begun. ®