Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

Summary: Apple has received a confirmed patent for the "slide to unlock" control in use on every Android phone and tablet in existence.

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Whatever your position is on patent infringement and the never-ending lawsuits in the mobile space, the fact is until the system is overhauled it is the law. I hate that design elements can be patented, instead of actual devices which makes more sense. Apple has been riding the patentability of design elements for a while, and has a number of Android device makers on the ropes as a result. A U. S. patent awarded today to Apple guarantees that every Android phone and tablet ever made infringes Apple's design.

Anyone who has touched an Android device has come face-to-face with the slide to unlock feature. The device is inaccessible until a slider or similar control is touched and slid to a boundary, unlocking the gadget. This simple control has now been patented by Apple, removing it from the available design pool to anyone else.

Apple has been picking and choosing its targets for patent infringement litigation carefully, using various patents it owns to go after infringers. This new patent over the simple slide to unlock feature means the company can go after any Android device maker it wants, and likely have success in the courts.

Heck, the control on Windows Phone devices, sliding the lock screen up to access the phone functions, may very well infringe on this patent too. That could extend to the upcoming Windows 8 as early preview versions use this same control to unlock devices.

Apple filed for the slide to unlock patent before the original iPhone was released, and just received confirmation of the patent. That puts every Android device ever made firmly in the infringing category, should Apple choose to get nasty.

[via 9to5mac]

Topics: Apple, Android, iPhone, Legal, Mobile OS, Patents, Security, Tablets, Windows

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281 comments
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    • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

      @Quzu123

      Touchwiz is the thing Apple is suing Samsung over, right?
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Yes, but Touchwiz is safe from touch to unlock patent

        @Michael Alan Goff
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

        @Michael Alan Goff
        Just because Apple gets a frivolous event handler patent from the most indiscreet patent regime in the world does not necessarily mean all kinds touch+slide gestures to unlock will infringe Apple's patents. By the way, all of Apple's products too are alleged to infringe on HTC's patents. The ipads and iphones too infringe Motorola's and Samsung's wireless patents. Let Apple continue to sue and entangle itself in its web of law suits and take the path to oblivion. To sum, let Apple do its worst, while the Open Source community behind Android will continue to do its best.
        mantrik00
      • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

        @Michael Alan Goff No, they are going after samsung on the hardware. There were a few pieces of software they tried to go after but they were not successful.

        Coincidentally one piece was horizontal scrolling and I believe the patent was tossed out.
        slickjim
      • Horizontal slide was patented

        Vertical diagonal or any other motion was not.<br><br>Ice Cream you twirl it.. and that application has been filed as well. So this is a no brainer.. no news here. Apple can try and come out empty handed.<br><br>

        Until May 2006, Apple did not apply for this patent, when many other had already been granted the same behaviour for the same purpose. Here is a list:

        Patent Number Filing date Issue date Original Assignee Title
        US5619555 Jul 28, 1995 Apr 8, 1997 Latitude Communications Graphical computer interface for an audio conferencing system
        US5627978 Dec 16, 1994 May 6, 1997 Lucent Technologies Inc. Graphical user interface for multimedia call set-up and call handling in a virtual conference on a desktop computer conferencing system
        US5633912 Jun 17, 1996 May 27, 1997 U S West Advanced Technologies, Inc. Mobile telephone user interface including fixed and dynamic function keys and method of using same
        US5644628 Mar 15, 1995 Jul 1, 1997 Alcatel N.V. telecommunications terminal interface for control by predetermined gestures
        US5701340 Nov 20, 1995 Dec 23, 1997 Dialogic Corporation AD-HOC conferencing method
        US6047054 Apr 7, 1998 Apr 4, 2000 Davox Corporation Computer telephone system
        US6070068 Mar 14, 1997 May 30, 2000 Sony Corporation Communication terminal device and method for controlling a connecting state of a call into a desired connection state upon a predetermined operation by a user
        US6088696 Sep 29, 1997 Jul 11, 2000 Ericsson Inc. Mailing/filing system for congruently categorizing different types of electronic mail resources received through a messaging system
        US6236854 Aug 17, 1998 May 22, 2001 Nortel Networks Limited Method and apparatus for controlling a conference call
        US6259436 Dec 22, 1998 Jul 10, 2001 Ericsson Inc. Apparatus and method for determining selection of touchable items on a computer touchscreen by an imprecise touch
        US6298045 Nov 3, 1999 Oct 2, 2001 Vertical Networks, Inc. Systems and methods for multiple mode voice and data communications using intelligently bridged TDM and packet buses and methods for performing telephony and data functions using the same
        US6323846 Jan 25, 1999 Nov 27, 2001 University of Delaware Method and apparatus for integrating manual input
        US6392999 Feb 29, 2000 May 21, 2002 Lucent Technologies Inc. Conferencing and announcement generation for wireless VoIP and VoATM calls
        US6396531 Dec 31, 1998 May 28, 2002 ATT Corp. Set top integrated visionphone user interface having multiple menu hierarchies
        US6424711 Jan 20, 1999 Jul 23, 2002 Davox Corporation Computer telephone system
        US6430284 Nov 13, 2000 Aug 6, 2002 AT&T Corp. System and method for redirecting control of in-band signaling
        US6505040 Dec 30, 1999 Jan 7, 2003 Samsung Electronics, Co., Ltd. Method of making a multiparty conference call on a mobile phone
        US6516202 Aug 12, 1999 Feb 4, 2003 Handspring, Inc. Mobile computer system designed for wireless communication expansion
        US6535730 Dec 13, 1999 Mar 18, 2003 AT&T Corp. Wireless centrex conference call adding a party
        US6570557 Feb 10, 2001 May 27, 2003 Finger Works, Inc. Multi-touch system and method for emulating modifier keys via fingertip chords
        US6577721 Apr 30, 1999 Jun 10, 2003 Nokia Mobile Phones Limited Conference call
        US6677932 Jan 28, 2001 Jan 13, 2004 Finger Works, Inc. System and method for recognizing touch typing under limited tactile feedback conditions
        US6768722 Jun 23, 2000 Jul 27, 2004 AT&T Corp. Systems and methods for managing multiple communications
        US6839417 Sep 10, 2002 Jan 4, 2005 Myriad Entertainment, Inc. Method and apparatus for improved conference call management
        US7007239 Oct 14, 2001 Feb 28, 2006 Palm, Inc. Method and apparatus for accessing a contacts database and telephone services
        US7031728 Sep 21, 2004 Apr 18, 2006 Cellular phone/PDA communication system
        Uralbas
      • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

        @mantrik00

        There is nothing open source about Android. It is all closed source Google stuff.
        danbi
      • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

        @danbi - Wrong, you clueless fanboi. Most of the Android code has been open sourced with the exception of Honeycomb because it had a lot of issues to be worked out and is being superseded by Ice Cream Sandwich. ICS will also be open sourced as Google has already stated.
        mjf2112
  • Same but...

    @Quzu123
    Galaxy, Infuse, Galaxy S2, Nexus One...
    No slide to unlock on any of these.....
    So which are really affected?
    Smell a fast "update" coming....
    rhonin
    • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

      @rhonin - That is not what the article says. It says:

      "Apple has received a confirmed patent for the slide to unlock control in use on every Android phone and tablet in existence."

      That just means that if the device has a 'slide to unlock' control, it now violates Apple's patent. It is a poorly worded headline, and a poorly worded sentence, but that is how reporters and the media in general make things sound more dramatic than they really are. Although this is dramatic. Those tactics are taught in upper level journalism classes and at media propagators. It sells more copy!
      Forensics1
    • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

      @rhonin
      Incredibles, Droid, Droid X
      network admin
    • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

      @rhonin The patent only uses "slide to unlock" as an example. The patent actually involves using image cues and a touch screen to unlock, and can include moving an image from one part of the screen to another (like the puzzle piece I've seen on Samsung phones).
      However, a device could still use slide to unlock if it didn't use image cues: e.g. instead of having an actual slider on the screen, if you just do a horizontal slide anywhere on the lower half of the screen.
      Some actual text of the patent is in the linked article about how Windows 8 also infringes the patent.
      chris3145
    • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

      @rhonin Actually the N1 does feature "slide to unlock." :)
      jmwells21
    • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

      @rhonin

      Its moving an image along a predefined path. And all android even not skinned violates this. Windows phone uses sliding image yes but it isn't along a predefined path.
      blazing_smiley_face
    • Now I am confused

      @all<br>Thx... I think..... I have the authors, and other differing definitions of what this really says in layman's terms....
      rhonin
    • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

      @jmwells21
      True.
      I always use a passcode or pattern unlike...
      Had to take a second look - thx
      rhonin
    • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

      @network admin incredible used a push bar up to unlock...
      slickjim
    • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

      @rhonin I guess the slide switches on my model train now belong to Apple....?
      How stupid the US patent office is. I also thought they once said that everything that could be invented was invented or something rediculous like that?
      Bradish1
    • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

      @rhonin Are you high? My Nexus One has a slide to unlock feature. Just another bs patent claim by the king of bs patents.<br><br>When will the world stop selling parts and services to Apple?<br><br>When will Apple die from the global hate they have generated with all the frivolous patents and suits? It's been serving them so well...down to third place in sales and sliding...die Apple die. Microsoft won't be there this time to bail you out <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy">
      timspublic1
    • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

      @Quzu123- wounder if anyone will use my unlock gesture.<br>Grab phone firmly. Lift arm to a vertical position... forcefully make a downward motion with your arm and let go of phone when reaching a horizontal action...<br><br>Presto your phone is now unlocked... physically. Another BS patent and imagine the profit of having to buy a new one on every unlock <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy"><br><br>Maybe if Apple didnt spend so much money on law suites their products would be cheaper. There just running scared coz the competition will always have more competitive prices and they are too stubborn to sell anything below a high profit margin. So why do fanbois defend this idiocracy emerging from new technology this is just a money making scam! They dont think about you, they just think about $$$ and yet all these clueless people running around like religious fanatics blogging every statement or action, defending a brand! a BRAND! I'm scared of our future.... if we had wars because of spices imagine with technology....
      SonicLogic
  • RE: Every Android device now infringes Apple patent: Slide to unlock

    @Quzu123 - That is not what the article says. It says:<br><br>"Apple has received a confirmed patent for the slide to unlock control in use on every Android phone and tablet in existence."<br><br>That just means that if the device has a 'slide to unlock' control, it now violates Apple's patent. It is a poorly worded headline, and a poorly worded sentence, but that is how reporters and the media in general make things sound more dramatic than they really are. Although this is dramatic. Those tactics are taught in upper level journalism classes and at media propagators. It sells more copy!
    Forensics1