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back to article Apple lands slide-to-unlock patent blow on Motorola

Motorola's Android handsets are infringing Apple's slide-to-unlock patent, in Germany at least, though an appeal may be lodged. Apple hasn't said it will enforce the Munich ruling - a permanent injunction - as it would need to post a bond against failure at appeal, but the judge is clear that Motorola needs to find a different …

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Jeez

Do these patent judges not know anything about tech or even bother to look for prior art. My Windows 6.0 phone pre-dates the iPhone and that has an icon to unlock the screen. This is getting ridiculous.

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jai
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Re: Jeez

it has an icon? is that it? do you have to swipe your finger across the screen to drag the icon and so unlock the screen?

because, if you had _read_the_article_ it says that "Motorola's Xoom tablet, as that uses a drag-finger-outside-circle unlocking which is sufficiently different from Apple's approach"

So having an icon to unlock the screen is also not the same thing as the iPhone's "drag to unlock" finger swipe motion.

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Re: Re: Jeez

Yeah, this is no big deal. My sense device has a ring you drag up to unlock, and my touchpad has a similar thing, you drag a lock out of a circle.

Not as iconic as swipe to unlock, but easy to do once you know it.

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Re: Re: Jeez

Actually yes, my old Windows phone used to be slide to unlock.

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Re: Re: Jeez

Of course I've read the article, otherwise I wouldn't have seen the icon at the bottom of the screen that I need to press in order to comment. Hang on - Apple might have a patent for that too, El reg watch out, you'll be banned in Germany. Oh and in case you didn't know, yes, Windows Phone does have an icon you need to drag across the screen to unlock, but there's can go left as well as right.

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Re: Jeez

It's not the responsibility of a judge to look for evidence of prior art. It is the responsibility of the lawyers to present that evidence for the judge to consider in his verdict.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Jeez

It seems that patents should be given for technological discoveries rather than chicken shit issues such as swipping a screen.

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Unhappy

So next time I undo the bolt on my door

I need to pay Apple?

I assume Google will be patenting look to unlock which is a much better system long term.

Ridiculous system.

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Mushroom

Re: So next time I undo the bolt on my door

This, in spades.

The concept of a bolt being thrown/retracted to lock/open something is very old news. Just because a graphical idiom is used to perform the action electornically should not be patentable in any sane work.

Copyright the graphics used? Yes, up to a point (one slidey button thing is going to look pretty similar to other slidey button things)

Trademark it? Hrmm...maybe but doubtful.

Patent? No - sod off.

I have an idea...I am going to patent a "tumbler" graphic that one rotates left/right to enter a code that unlocks the device. No one has ever done that before. There is no prior art. The patent is all mine. ALL MINE!!!!!!!!

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Thumb Up

Re: Re: So next time I undo the bolt on my door

I do like that tumbler concept, like a safe dial. Race you to the patent office - no wait I have scruples, silly me. Good luck to you Sir.

But yeah, common sence is something that frankly should not be patentable and is one area that just seems to get worse. I blame the history of XORing to get a mouse on the screen.

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Re: Re: Re: So next time I undo the bolt on my door

"a safe dial"? NAY! This is electronic and thus totally patentable. Hush, you!

In fact....I'll patent an arbitrarily sided polygon.

The sad thing is...some lawyered arsewipe will probably patent my "original" idea and make bazillions, despite the fact it is utterly without merit.

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Anonymous Coward

Prior art...

http://www.androidcentral.com/apple-granted-patent-slide-unlock-even-though-it-existed-2-years-they-invented-it

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Alert

Re: Prior art...

Motorola's lawyers would have wheeled that one out with bells on. They still lost, so it can't be that simple.

IANAL (ANAY) (and neither are you) :)

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simple

have four buttons in a row, each which must be punched sequentially. You MAY drag a finger over them to unlock, but you can also hit one at a time, something which CANNOT be done using apple's method, therefore different.

I'll give you that one Motorola!

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Hey Super Tim

You should patent that idea quick :D

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Re: Hey Super Tim

I would, but i have no intention of seeking protection from other uses while I create and sell the product I have patented, as I have no intention of making it.

You know, what the patent system was invented for!

If I chose to patent it, then I would be no better than the myriad companies now just patenting anyoldshite (C) and then waiting to find somebody to sue!

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Headmaster

The ruling dose not cover

should be "does"

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Stop

Really?

This is just getting silly. Motorola / Apple / Samsung / etc need to stop these pointless patent disputes and just agree that some things are just an industry standard. Goodness knows where we'd be now if some bored patent lawyer in the 80's decided to patent drop down menus or shortcut icons.

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But I thought

there were NO software patents in Europe!

Anyone care to explain the legalities of this?

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Re: But I thought

I second that. Also very keen to hear the answer to this question, having seen none so far.

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Anonymous Coward

Google also patents their screen lock mechanisms:

http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20110283241

As does Nokia:

http://www.google.com/patents/about/7453443_Method_of_deactivating_lock_and.html?id=1XawAAAAEBAJ

And many other companies... Seems easy to resolve though.

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Anonymous Coward

Just reading Florian Muller's blurb he suggests that "If MMI wants to play it safe in Germany, it implements embodiment #3 (the slide-to-unlock circle) across its entire product range. That one was cleared by the regional court and is safe at least until the end of the appeals proceeding."

So it seems there's already a solution.

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Simply replace it with an apple that you drag to a bin ;)

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"Google also patents their screen lock mechanisms"

Perhaps its out of necessity, given Apple seem more interested in putting money into their legal team than their development team at the moment, otherwise Apple will just patent every possible lock screen type to block Google from having a lock screen at all...

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WTF?

Shouldn't Apple be suing Google?

Motorola are only providing a hardware platform that happens to have Google's O/S on it afterall.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shouldn't Apple be suing Google?

You may have not read the latest news but Motorola sued Apple (and actually did it first).

Patent holders can sue anyone using their patent without a license, even down to end users.

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This wasn't the intention of Patents

These are not "inventions" or innovative. But all obvious if you have touch screen, camera etc...

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g e
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Prior art

The bolt on my back gate.

I hope google's face unlock patent (assuming they have one) prevents Apple ever doing it cos you know they wish they'd 'invented' that one.

Slide to unlock is also bloody obvious on a touchscreen if you ask me, hardly an 'innovation'. They may as well claim to have patented drag-and-drop

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Prior art

And the catch on my briefcase.

The fact that when Apple brought it out, noone said "what a curious way to unlock the screen"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Prior art

What do you mean WISH they had invented it? No doubt they will claim that they invented the spirit of it and thus demand that other patents be declared invalid.

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Re: Prior art

If you look at the details of Apple's attempt to block the Galaxy Nexus in the US, they are already claiming that the phone infringes their face unlock patent.

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Go

Re: Prior art

Patents refer to something new, novel and non-obvious.

For a patent to be worth a grain of salt there must be a market for the device/component described within the patent.

The most marketable devices are those which people "wonder how did I survive without that?"

An example might be.. digital cameras - they revolutionised the way we take photographs. No need to spend a fortune at the developers (that put my cousin out of business), you can take as many pictures as you want (thousands on a 16gig card), see the results on a computer and print your own selected images.

That process seems obvious NOW, but at the time the hardware/software was developed it was revolutionary.

When people say an invention is obvious it always makes me ask... "Why didn't you do it first then?"

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Re: Re: Prior art

"And the catch on my briefcase.

The fact that when Apple brought it out, noone said "what a curious way to unlock the screen""

Nope they said "that's neat!"

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Bronze badge

Re: Re: Prior art

Speaking of digital cameras, quite a few of them have a "swipe to activate" feature too. I'm talking about sliding lens covers that double up as a power switch. Oh, it's also finger-operated. Make of that what you will.

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WTF?

I'm just amazed....

That slinding your finger in a particular manner can be patented...

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Android 3 and beyond

Note in 3.x+ that there is no slide lock mechanism. You have to pick up a ball and drop it onto an action. The ball moves up and down but it just so happens the action is to the right or left of the ball so it's effectively still a slide lock. I don't know if patent worries prompted how the screen unlocks but it is distinctly different. Doubtless Google patented this.

<p>

The whole concept of a patent on a slide lock is repugnant. It is an obvious solution given the constraints of a device which works off taps and swipes.

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Anonymous Coward

Here we go again!

These patents are ridiculous! Pateneting and method of unlocking the phone by sliding your fingure across a screen? Really! That was pateneted?

W O W F ckwits! Humans really are F ckwits!

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Stop

It's ok

Fuckwits. Fuckwittery. Fuck-diddly-do-dar-day.

See? Much more cathartic.

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FAIL

Will get thrown out..

As, correct me if I am wrong, prior art still applies...

Apples patent was granted in December 2005, and there are several examples of prior art, include the Neonode N1m from 2001.

All this shows, is Apple's desperation..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Will get thrown out..

If you knew how to read patents instead of just Android fansites you'd see Apple's patent includes a moving widget (the square sliding thing), the Neonode doesn't it just has some arrows pointing in the direction to slide the finger. Boom instant difference, patent averted.

Your examples reek of desperation.

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ridiculous patents, dumb courts

Totally ridiculous to patent something like swiping.

I'm just glad that no baker so far patented "cutting bread with a knife" action :(

In the mean time, I'll work on my new patent application entitled "fart to unlock."

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Joke

Re: ridiculous patents, dumb courts

I'll work on my new patent application entitled "fart to unlock."

That's great, but how can you generate a fart noise if your iPhone is locked?

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404
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Re: Re: ridiculous patents, dumb courts

By pulling your finger?

:)

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Anonymous Coward

I slid my finger.....

........sideways in my Girlfriends privates and it unlocked a whole lot of passioante possibiltiiies ! I could surf all over her thereafter.

Sue me for that.

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Why are we asking judges for uninformed opinions when we have the Internet?

Sliding a button to unlock things is probably hundreds of years old. Why exactly is doing this with pictures in some way worthly of the protection of the law and therefore the armed forces? This is as brain dead as the Amazon one-click patent.

I assume some folding stuff in an envelope was involved.

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Anonymous Coward

I suggest that everyone who says this is obvious starts writing their own patents, should be a really lucrative endeavour given your immense foresight and creativity.

All the truly great ideas are obvious once you seen them, you then kick yourself for not having thought of them before.

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WTF?

skeuomorphic

@AC No problem, it's a skeuomorph. There are numerous others we could think of from the 'real' world.

Turning a key

Closing a pad-lock

Spinning a dial

etc etc etc

Just google 'lock mechansims' then do a quick sketch showing the 'virtual' representation, patent please :-)

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Re: Truly great ideas

I was under the impression you can't patent an idea, only a novel way of implementing it. Since the implementation of said idea is (in my opinion, of course) both obvious and trivial to someone having ordinary skill in the art, it would seem to me that the patent should not have been granted.

Let's face it, most people can come up with great ideas, it's only if the actual implementation of them requires an inventive step that patents should come in to play. I'm generally against software patents due to ongoing farce around them, however I would probably concede (if pushed), that certain very limited software patents could be reasonable. One example would be font hinting and anti-aliasing. It's all very well saying "I've had this idea of making fonts look good on a screen", but actually it took some effort to invent an algorithm to do the job.

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Unhappy

Only if you have deeeeeep pockets

The other main problem with the patent process - it costs a lot to take one out and a fortune to defend it.

Only large organisations can afford it.

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