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PINELLAS COMPANY SUES APPLE COMPANY

SP Technologies says its patent covers iPhone touch screen.

Apple Inc., which may have sold as many as 450,000 iPhones in its first two days of sales, was sued by a St. Petersburg company that owns a patent it says covers the new mobile phone's touch-screen display.

SP Technologies LLC said Apple's iPhone infringes a patent issued in 2004 for a "method and medium for computer readable keyboard display incapable of user termination," in a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Tyler, Texas.

Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., was notified it violated the patent in February, according to the complaint. SP asked the court to award a "reasonable royalty" on iPhones sold by Apple that are covered by the patent and to issue an order permanently blocking Apple from using the technology without permission.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said the company doesn't comment on pending litigation.

T. John Ward, SP Technologies' lawyer, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment. No telephone number is listed for SP Technologies in Florida. The company is based overseas, and its U.S. mailing address is a post-office box, according to Florida records.

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