Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

Summary:Apple, once again, has secured another injunction against an Android manufacturer. This time, a repeat performance from Motorola, and specifically a 'slide-to-unlock' patent.

Apple has secured a permanent injunction against Motorola over phones that implement a 'slide-to-unlock' feature in Germany.

The case could result in Apple demanding that the smartphone giant, which was recently given the go-ahead to be acquired by Google for $12.5 billion by the European and U.S. authorities, take out the feature in its Android phones in the region.

Not only would that be a tricky task, it's likely to affect worldwide users, as it's easier to remove and replace the feature completely on a global level than in one country.

The case initially focused on three separate applications of this patent. One was ruled out because it was deemed outside of Apple's reach.

But others are probably waiting for other patent suits to come from this, as almost every other Android device, including HTC and Samsung --- like they need any more hassle from Cupertino --- has a similar slide-to-unlock feature.

FOSS Patents author Florian Mueller, who attended the court hearing today, said: It's a safe assumption that Motorola will appeal this decision," adding: "This is largely a win for Apple that will result in a noticeable degradation of the user experience of Motorola's products."

"Apple is asserting the same patent as well as a related utility model against Samsung in Mannheim, and can always bring claims against more Android device makers in this jurisdiction. Today's ruling is significant bad news for Android at large, and Google."

Apple has not yet said if it would or not ask Motorola to remove the feature. Apple did not wish to comment at the time of writing.

Update: A Motorola spokesperson said: ""Motorola has implemented a new design for the feature. Therefore, we expect no impact on current supply or future sales." As if we didn't see that coming.

Image source: Alex E. Proimos/Flickr.

Related:

Topics: Apple

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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