Lawsuit over iPod could hit iPhone

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Apple's been enjoying a lot of buzz on news of its iPhone but it has been silent about a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Quantum Research Group of Southampton, U.K. in December 2005 that could affect the much-hyped device.

According to Electronics Weekly, the lawsuit involves touch-sensing technology used in some iPods — and possibly the iPhone.

The article quotes Quantum CEO Hal Philipp as saying settlement talks are in progress but he expects the case to go to trial. “I am hoping iPhone does not contain Quantum-patented charge-transfer technology.”

Apple is probably hoping that it can avoid court and settle the dispute relatively cheaply. The reason? With all of the features and technology Apple is packing into its next major device, the iPhone's profit margin is more likely than not to be relatively thin, so they'll need to sell a lot of them to cover costs — especially if they lose a court fight.

Quantum isn't the only company suing Apple. Cisco-owned Linksys launched its iPhone for Skype Voice over Internet Protocol software in December, Cisco is suing Apple over the iPhone name and in Canada the iPhone trademark is owned by Commwave, a VoIP telecom.

The potential legal and financial ramifications beg the question: How much cash does Apple have saved up in its iPiggy-bank?