A company that developed touch-screen technology for video displays in the 1990s has sued Apple, claiming that the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iPad nano, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air infringe on its patents.

The patent the centre of the dispute regards a "touch screen based systems that allow users to manipulate images using gestures, such as selecting an image by touching it, and flicking images off of the screen," according to a press release issued by the law firm representing patent holder, Flatworld Interactives.

The complaint alleges that Apple knew about the patent but continued to sell the infringing products. It calls for an injunction stopping Apple from continued infringement, and an award of damages to compensate Flatworld.

In a press release issued by legal firm Hagens Berman, Steve Berman says: "Reading Flatworld's patent is like reading the description of gesture recognition features of any of the accused products on Apple's website. It is clear that Flatworld owns technology that Apple has used to drive billions of dollars in infringing sales."

Patently Apple claims that the patent dispute regards touch technology that doesn't relate to Apple's multi-touch technology in any way. "It's very difficult to understand how this relates to any of Apple's iDevices or Magic Mouse for that matter," says the site.