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  • Apple Granted Patent for 'Slide to Unlock' and Potentially All Other Unlocking Gestures



    Slide to Unlock is now Slide to Welcome the Wrath of Apple. Yes, Apple has successfully won a patent for the commonly used Slide to Unlock feature used to unlock capacitive touchscreen phones.

    Steve Jobs during the unveiling of the iPhone way back in 2007 was almost giddy showing off Apple’s simple solution to preventing the pocket dialing dilemma. The patent application filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) dates back to December 2005, nearly a year and half before the iPhone would be announced. Scott Forstall, Senior VP of iOS, and a handful of other Apple engineers are credited with “inventing” the Slide to Unlock patent.

    While the feature was apparently implemented in a Windows CE smartphone during the stone-age of mobile technology Apple and their Intellectual Property lawyers now have another patent packed in their arsenal for use in the U.S.. However, it seems Google and their Android developers anticipated this move by Apple as their unlock screens have progressively moved further and further away from the simple Slide to Unlock feature with each iteration.

    This might not matter though because of the following excerpt:

    Originally Posted by :
    A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture. — Patent 8,046,721
    If the implications of the above excerpt are correct, any physical gesture intended to unlock a phone falls under this patent. Which means every puzzle, swiping pattern, and representation of the unlock gesture is somehow covered by this patent.

    Thankfully, Apple has already unsuccessfully tried to levy this particular patent against Samsung in the Netherlands. A judge ruled the patent invalid because of the Windows CE Neonode N1m. The video below (skip to about 4 minutes) clearly shows the phone using a swipe to unlock gesture no less than two years before the iPhone’s unveiling and before Apple’s patent application. However, patent law in the United States is a decidedly different beast than in the Netherlands.

    Youtube Video

    Whether Apple is able to successfully levy this far-reaching patent will be interesting. The patent literally covers all unlock screens, but was thrown out during proceedings in the Netherlands. However, if Apple successfully levees this patent against competing mobile operating systems in the U.S. the landscape for phones could drastically change stateside.

    Source: The Register, Android Central
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Granted Patent for 'Slide to Unlock' and Potentially All Other Unlocking Gestures started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 29 Comments
    1. Stefman_R's Avatar
      Stefman_R -
      I understand them trying to protect their ideas, but why not just ask people to change their implementations? They already have money, they don't need any more.
    1. raduga's Avatar
      raduga -
      Quote Originally Posted by Victor_inox View Post
      Einstein was one of them....
      old dude???

      so, you're saying we need people like this


      instead of like this

      _

      The guy in the first picture was senile, doddering, and didn't invent squat.
      My money's on the other guy.
    1. chefJeff18's Avatar
      chefJeff18 -
      Hi, Could you tell me how to repair my Iphone becaue it is severely damaged from a typhoon?
    1. Gamemaster77's Avatar
      Gamemaster77 -
      Quote Originally Posted by fleurya View Post
      Copying what the other guy does (slide to unlock) is not innovation. In fact, it's the exact opposite.

      It's patents like this that spur innovation by not allowing companies to copy each other.
      Quote Originally Posted by StayyyFlyyy View Post
      r u kidding me!?! this is apple brilliance. how often do you see a problem that is continually encountered solved so simply? jobs you the man!
      Did you two even read the article? It clearly shows that Neonode had the idea first in the Windows CE Neonode N1m . Apple copied them, just like they do with every other so called "invention" of theirs.

      Quote Originally Posted by raduga View Post
      The guy in the first picture was senile, doddering, and didn't invent squat.
      My money's on the other guy.
      For the record Einstein came up with one of the most revolutionary theories and many more, and he did it when he was young. He just did not get noticed until he was old.
    1. raduga's Avatar
      raduga -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gamemaster77 View Post
      For the record Einstein came up with one of the most revolutionary theories and many more, and he did it when he was young. He just did not get noticed until he was old.
      for the record, he was an ambitious little punk who took took the world by storm before turning 30.

      The Swiss PTO knew what they were doing, when they hired nervous, circumspect young men, struggling to feed their families on a crappy paycheck. They hired A. Einstein because he was a n00b, college graduate, figured that he was smart and probably wouldn't make a ruckus.

      They were right on everything but the last bit.

      Quote Originally Posted by Victor_inox View Post
      Funny... How would young people know about new technology without old farts creating that new technology? Ever thought about it that way?
      We make a fetish out of old farts, but the young farts are the tricky ones. They think your technology is lame and make up new rules because they can't be bothered to learn the old rules.

      Quote Originally Posted by Some other geezer View Post
      Stay hungry. Stay foolish.
      ???
    1. Agent929's Avatar
      Agent929 -
      Quote Originally Posted by StayyyFlyyy View Post
      ok so bill gates is childish? telcel is childish? apple is childish? im sorry but i think you have the definition of childish misconstrued. How is trying to build a monoploly childish??? youre all focusing on something thats actually a strategic business move.. apple is merely a squirrel trying to get a nut.. exactly what kraxik said.. if you guys dont like it yell at the patent companys.. apple is reaping the revenue of this and doubtfully is gonna be concerned with their image of obtaining a prestigoues patent, what you should be focused on is the fact that this is allowed. not the fact the apple jumped on it while it was hot
      Read my quote. It's the same thing. I'm basing it on child saying "it's mine!". Apple by far isn't the only one.
    1. ChuckBartowski's Avatar
      ChuckBartowski -
      lol right to left..... shes not very smart
    1. hapishyguy's Avatar
      hapishyguy -
      Quote Originally Posted by eg6motion View Post
      agreed. This is a bit extreme and I am confused on how they got this passed.
      Its all about money and bribing and lobbying. I bet and predict that couple of years later someone will reveal some kind of scandal that apple paid heavy ransom monies to the govt officials to get patents but since time will be gone and nothing could have been done about it. I bet!
    1. recognition's Avatar
      recognition -
      Quote Originally Posted by gehjl View Post
      It's companies like this who stunt any type of innovation.
      Do you even know what 'innovation' means?!


      Quote Originally Posted by Collins English Dictionary View Post
      British English: innovation. An innovation is a new thing or new method of doing something.
      Stopping other companies from copying forces them to 'innovate', forcing them to come up with a new way of unlocking.