German Court Invalidates Apple's "Slide to Unlock" Patent
Motorola recently won a ruling from the country’s Federal Patent Court, which found all claims of Apple’s “slide to unlock” user interface property invalid, though the decision can be appealed. According to Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents
, the parties affected by the ruling, which included Apple, Google, and Samsung, all knew the Bundesgerichtshof (Germany’s Federal Court of Justice) was likely to invalidate European Patent EP1964022 for “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image.” The ruling came at the end of a day-long court session where Apple attempted to save the patent’s validity by presenting 14 proposed claim amendments.
At the end of it all, Apple’s patent is somewhat irrelevant as manufacturers have implemented similar design workarounds that accomplish the same basic slide to unlock functionality, which is used on basically all smartphones. The German court noted that Apple’s patent claim for a swiping gesture, the only new enhancement to prior art, doesn’t meet certain requirements of a European patent law. The inventive step needed to uphold a patent’s claims was deemed “software as such” and not a requisite technical innovation to a technical problem.
For those of you who don’t know, Apple’s patent has a spotty history with the German court system. It’s expected that Apple will appeal Thursday’s ruling to the Bundesgerichtshof though no official documentation of such action has been filed.
Source: FOSS Patents