Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

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.

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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.

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Topic: Apple

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34 comments
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  • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

    Somebody will ask to clarify these patents as too broad.

    On question though, how come these patents are never challenged in the USA?
    slickjim
    • It is very specific

      @Peter Perry

      If you think the slide to unlock is broad, you don't know what broad means. The simple fact the same exact code could be used with different images to do both the iOS and Android slide to unlock points to just how similar the design (and specific the patent in question) is.
      Bruizer
      • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

        @Bruizer

        You don't know what you are talking about.
        DonRupertBitByte
      • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

        @Bruizer Apple could now down 30,000 Chinese Children so their employees could work longer and you would still champion everything they do.

        So, of course you think this patent isn't too broad.

        Now, I will admit that Motorola's lock function might be borderline but to say it covers e ery unlocking mechanism where sliding an Icon on something else, is quite frankly insane!
        slickjim
      • @Peter Perry: And your lies continue.

        Apple could solve all the world problems and you would still hate them.

        All I stated was simple fact. The slide to unlock patent is very narrow and very specific. Having actually coded a simulated unlock screen where you could make the app look like iOS's or Android's unlock screen I know for a fact that the same exact code could be used where only image resources differ. In short, yes the implementation is different between the two OSes but the method is the same.

        Likewise, it does not cover every unlocking mechanism sliding an icon. Read the claims again learn what it covers. The fac HTC has been able to design around this, MS has been able to design around this, HoneyComb designed around this, Meego designed around this pretty much proves Google and Motorola are simply lazy.
        Bruizer
      • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

        @DonRupertBitByte [b]You don't know what you are talking about.[/b]

        Really? So someone who disagrees with you does not know what they are talking about? Yeah, okay... we'll get back to that one.

        The whole thing is the patent that uses an icon of an arrow that points to the right side of the device that is slid from left to right to unlock the device with the words "Slide to Unlock". If Motorola used this without it being licensed by the patent holder - Apple - then they are in violation of infringing the patent and they need to be held accountable for the devices that use the infringed patent. it's really just that simple.

        And yes the unlock slider on many android devices is quite similar to the "Slide to Unlock" patent Apple holds. I say that because I have BOTH an Apple iPhone 4 and a Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate and both have the slide to unlock feature. The one on iOS was part and parcel of the OS since iPhone OS 1x which was out prior to this incarnation of the Android OS so there IS prior art which Apple holds.
        athynz
    • Becuase the code was written in german

      @Peter Perry
      ;)
      William Farrel
      • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

        @William Farrel

        Ich muss mal schiessen
        gribittmep
      • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

        @gribittmep

        Das ist nicht schon :(
        William Farrel
      • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

        @William Farrel That or they know that Europe favors Android. I cannot wait until the next Galaxy Tablets hit as Samsung has licensed the Power VR tech and developed arguably the fastest CPU on the market. Throw in a Super Amoled Screen and you have a can of whoop ass.
        slickjim
    • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

      @Peter Perry

      Hopefully, then, Google won't be granted this patent: h t t p://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PG01&s1=780659.APN.&OS=APN/780659&RS=APN/780659

      I wonder why they applied for a 'swipe to unlock' patent?
      msalzberg
  • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

    Wow, that was one smart engineer to have figured out that patent.

    Amazing intelligence level at Apple.

    Next from Cupertino: a patent about turning a device on by pushing a button.
    wendellgee2
    • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

      @wendellgee@...

      Everything is obvious when someone else invents it.
      dhmccoy
      • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

        @dhmccoy slide locking latch on doors never existed before Apple?! Seriously?! All their did is writing a code to mimic the real world. I do not see an invention here
        pupkin_z
      • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

        @pumkin_z The invention IS the conversion from the hardware slide latch to a software one, an invention and patent Apple came up with. Which is being infringed.
        athynz
      • Brilliantly said

        and perfectly accurate.
        baggins_z
    • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

      @wendellgee@... Oh don't worry...I'm sure the trolls in Cupertino are already working on that.

      But I don't care what Apple wins...'cause I'm going to continue to "slide-to-unlock" my Droid Bionic...and think evil thoughts about Apple as I do. :-)
      It'sNotMe
    • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

      @wendellgee@... in your scorn and rush to vilify Apple you fail to realize that [i]APPLE[/i] is the patent holder and that patent is being infringed. It's just that simple and your hatred for a tech company does nothing to change that fact.
      athynz
  • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

    Slide to unlock, wow.... unreal that someone awarded a patent on that. Next they will issue a patent for push to flush....
    tgschmidt
    • RE: Apple wins injunction against Motorola slide-to-unlock phones

      @tgschmidt damn! you just spoiled my patent application... shame on you. I hope you filed it first before disclosing at a public forum
      pupkin_z