In something of a surprise legal move, a small Scottish company is suing Apple over claims it has illegally used its technology in the iPhone.

Glasgow-based Picsel has taken Apple to task in the US District Court in Delaware, saying its image-rendering technology forms a substantive part of the way the iPhone updates its screen.

Image slowdown

The technology in question speeds up screen redrawing that might otherwise be unacceptably slow for users. Picsel says this includes the iPhone's web browser, image zooming and document viewing.

Picsel, which has properly licensed its products to customers including Motorola, Nokia and Palm, is asking the court to grant damages of three times the value of its claimed losses.