German court hands Apple victory over Motorola on "slide to unlock" patent

German court hands Apple victory over Motorola on "slide to unlock" patent
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, a Munich court has awarded Apple victory over Motorola over the European version of Apple’s “slide to unlock” patent. The ruling is final – though Motorola has already announced they will appeal – so Apple could ask for a permanent injunction today if they wish. Well, if they wish and are willing to put up a large amount of cash to cover damages in case they lose on appeal. Of course Apple has piles of cash, so it will be interesting to see what they choose to do.

The patent in question, EP1964022, is written so broadly that Apple seems to feel it can be applied against any sort of unlock gesture on any screen. The German court didn’t follow Apple down quite that far – they ruled that Apple’s patent doesn’t apply to the unlock circle that was introduced with Honeycomb (and is currently employed on the Galaxy Nexus and several other phones).

It 's curious that Apple got this far on the slide to unlock patent – Apple’s patent is of very questionable veracity since prior art – the slide to unlock gesture of the Neonode N1m (see photo below) preceded Apple’s patent application, and in fact other German courts have indicated doubt about the patents validity.

While Motorola will naturally hope to find an appellate court of a similar mind, the appeal isn’t without risk to Motorola; while they will attempt to find a judge who might pay more attention to prior art, Apple will undoubtedly try to convince an appeals court that the circular Android unlock pattern should also constitute a violation of Apple’s intellectual property. Another Apple patent, one on sliding images in a photo gallery, was scheduled to be adjudicated today as well, but was postponed for a couple weeks.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months.


source: BBC News via FOSS Patents

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60 Comments

56. Striker

Posts: 92; Member since: Nov 06, 2011

Haters gonna hate...Just have in mind that now Apple can buy(if they want to) the whole Handroid industry. It is non stop growing and its market value is as much as Giggle and Microsoft combined! Besides it has piles of free cash(about 90 billion or more). So haters, people obviously like Apple, simply because they are the best.

58. Johnny_Mnemonic

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Why is the Apple still reporting record profits? A: Because iPhone users are just as oblivious to the looming recession as they are to the people around them!

54. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Maybe all the android manufacturers should collaborate and make the unlocking motion spell out something derogatory towards apple, or a randomly bouncing apple icon (not of apple's IP of course!) that when you tap it, it will explode

51. nickjjay

Posts: 79; Member since: Oct 10, 2011

Not a fan of apple trying to sue rather than innovate. Not a fan of iSheeep.

48. click

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

Apple is so greedy. grrr..

46. Zayuh24

Posts: 149; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

Wow, so even the German court system are iFanboys. There is so much bias in politics and policymaking that it's ruining our global competitiveness. Apple just wants to monopolize technology in general. Pretty soon, they're going to patent the entire operating system and render other computers illegal.

45. Johnny_Mnemonic

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Q: How many Apple Iphone early adopters does it take to change a light bulb? A: 3001. 1 to do the work and 3000 to go online and bitch about the lack of obscure features!

43. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

42. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

FCK U APPLE AND FCK U JUDGE in Germany for taking Apple's money in court. same goes for our U.S. court system.

44. dreammixer

Posts: 81; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Hahaha loser

36. gkquiambao

Posts: 62; Member since: Nov 23, 2011

Apple is such a douche bag

34. iblackdroid

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

This is f**king ridiculous

33. som

Posts: 768; Member since: Nov 10, 2009

Apple paid bribe to the Germ Judge in order to win the case.

30. Striker

Posts: 92; Member since: Nov 06, 2011

Well, screw you, Motorola(Giggle in the shadow)! Go, Apple! Keep punishing thieves and plagiarists!

40. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Whois is Giggle? Sorry but why are the others fault when apple is well know for taking others ideas and patenting stuff on things they haven't even produced?

28. dreammixer

Posts: 81; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

This set of Apple patents are very very solid. Android makers and Google have a lot to worry about because these bans could start going world wide pretty soon here. Work arounds will be very expensive.

21. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

Apple is doomed. It can't innovate,so it's trying desperatelty to stay afloat,and grasping at straws to do so. Give it a couple of years,and they will be history. Apple is the future RIM.

23. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

other than your personal opinion.. how you came to that conclusion... have you seen the sales number and profits lately... you honestly see Apple slowing to that degree that you are speaking about... remember this is the year of the redesign iphone... I know you hate Apple but don't lose common sense...

47. Johnny_Mnemonic

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Why is Apple offering a free case for all iPhone 4 buyers? A: It doesn't help with reception, but protects the iPhone when you throw it against the wall after dropping a call!

55. deacz

Posts: 162; Member since: Nov 02, 2011

remember how nokia was nr1? yea... funny what time can do

50. wumberpeb

Posts: 453; Member since: Mar 14, 2011

Dammit, I hate when Gallito is right but you are WAY off base jmoita2. Not even close. They sue because they can and they want to drive Android completely off the market. Hell, Steve Jobs would have loved to see that happen before his death The entire company can go to hell for what they're pushing for, but they're certainly not doing this to "stay afloat"

59. Johnny_Mnemonic

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Why is the Apple still reporting record profits? A: Because iPhone users are just as oblivious to the looming recession as they are to the people around them!

19. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

My old super *** ass Samsung Instant could do this very same thing. Its been a while but im pretty sure it allowed a picture or image in the background while sliding the bar to unlock the phone. This is pure BS and its a shame another Apple win means more problems down the line for all Android OEM's.

17. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

Just like I said the german court is a shame. Shame, Shame, Shame. Slide to unlock really. REALLY. I'm sorry but to those who where bragging about moto getting an injunction on the iPhone and saying isn't it great to be free I hope you realize how terrible of a court system this really is now. I can't believe this.

29. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

lol and you wonder why I've always called the German court a kangaroo court. it hops to the left then hops to the right..

38. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

Its so true. They need some reform asap.

39. dreammixer

Posts: 81; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

You didn't think they were a kangaroo court when they ruled against Apple.

49. wumberpeb

Posts: 453; Member since: Mar 14, 2011

Even a broken clock is right twice a day

52. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

Yes he did

16. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

why the hate.. no one will come and take you phones away... phones wouldn't be banned just manufacturers will pony up money to pay settlement.. money that will come up from you guys pocket.... but hey is a risk when you purchase an Android.. you never know... with Android... but android will never do that right..

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