Honeywell is suing Apple and 33 other companies for infringement of an LCD patent it holds.

The patent, number 5,280,371, "increases the brightness of images and that reduces the appearance of certain interference effects on a liquid crystal display (LCD)," according to a statement by the company.

It was filed on 9 July 1992 and granted on 18 January 1994. The patent itself describes a "directional diffuser for a liquid crystal display". Honeywell is asking for monetary damages and an injunction to prohibit the companies named in the suit from selling products that infringe the patent.

With the exception of the Cathode Ray Tube-based eMac, LCDs are used throughout Apple's product line - its iMac, iBook and PowerBook systems all use LCD displays, and Apple also sells flat-panel LCD displays for use with its Power Mac line.

It is unclear which Apple products Honeywell claims violate the patent. The suit says that its patented technology is being used in everything from notebook computers to cell phones, PDAs, portable DVD players, portable LCD TVs, video game systems and digital still cameras.

Honeywell says that prominent LCD makers Philips and Samsung Electronics are already licensees. Other companies named in the suit include Audiovox, Casio, Dell, Fuji, Nikon, Olympus, Sony and Toshiba.