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Google wins Face Unlock patent

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Google wins Face Unlock patent
This is one of those patents that we were pretty curious about, because the timeline of the story was quite interesting. Google announced Face Unlock as part of Ice Cream Sandwich last year. A little bit after that we found out that Apple had applied for a patent for what seemed to be the very same thing back in 2010. Of course, Google's Face Unlock was based on technology from PittPatt, which had a patent granted in 2007. Google's newly granted patent was submitted for approval in late 2011, just before the ICS announcement.

This all goes to show that what we may consider to be relatively identical patents can be quite different, because the patents are for the underlying mechanism, not the general functionality that we talk about. For example, Google's new patent details the same mechanism as Apple's for recognizing various facial features, but seems to go well beyond that into a number of methods for logging in to a computer with the facial recognition. Additionally, where Apple's filing was specifically for iOS devices, Google's new patent covers any device with a camera, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, etc. 

Of course, right now, all of this doesn't really matter all that much as Face Unlock is still something of a gimmick, and not a real security option. Jelly Bean's update to ask for blinking helps, but it can still be gamed fairly easily. Maybe by the time the technology is widely usable, the USPTO will have started working to fix the patent system. 

source: USPTO via VentureBeat

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posted on 05 Sep 2012, 15:44 1

1. serious9010 (Posts: 254; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

Who's the patent troll now, apple or google??

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 15:47 42

4. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

You're kidding me, right?

This is a patent for a feature that Android devices actually USE.

Nothing patent trollish at all for Google.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 16:06 12

10. remixfa (Posts: 14605; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

yea, that would be the guy suing over green icons and rectangles

as well as the fruit company that opened fake front companies and giving them patents so they can sue and patent troll for you without your name being directly involved. Too bad they got caught on that one, eh?

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 16:42 2

21. paulyyd (Posts: 339; Member since: 08 Jan 2011)

lol you sound mad broski

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 17:52 6

28. MartyK (Posts: 949; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)

Apple is!!, any more questions?

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 19:21 4

34. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

APPLE PLUS U are the BIGGEST troll

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 22:02 4

40. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

Who has Google sued over face unlock? Exactly....

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 15:46 38

2. wassup (Posts: 565; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)

Well done Google, you should have a working prototype for a patent to be given, not like apple who got patents for things they drew on paper napkins.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 15:48 8

5. CivicSi89 (Posts: 349; Member since: 23 Jul 2011)


posted on 05 Sep 2012, 15:54 6

6. sbr999 (Posts: 79; Member since: 05 Jun 2012)

Haha apple. They must be jelly right now.

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 06:32

43. juanyunis (Posts: 73; Member since: 31 Aug 2012)

i see what you did there and i like it.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 15:57 6

7. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 259; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)

Not the most useful patent but it's a start :p

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 16:39 1

20. xtremesv (Posts: 298; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)

What about a patent like Slide to Unlock... that is creative and useful huh.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 19:53 2

36. joey_sfb (Posts: 6624; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

My dog could have thought of it. Nothing creative nor innovative about it.

Lucky for us apple has yet to patent the round circle or we will be paying 30 to 40 dollar to use a coaster.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 15:59 4

8. theBankRobber (Posts: 682; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)

They also got a patent for multiple face unlock users. Meaning more then one person can unlock One device. So if the wife and I have a Galaxy tab, we can use face unlock and have both our faces work to unlock the device instead of just one face. If she's at work and im home, I don't need her face to unlock it because its set up to detect more then one persons face. How neat is that.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 16:07 4

11. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

actually this could be more about the android multiple account thing, and the reason JB has it disabled, you can have two accounts on a tablet, unlocking with your face could take you to your account while your wife could have another account that unlocks with her face

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 16:21 5

14. theBankRobber (Posts: 682; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)

That would be good, we could both have our own themes. Her with her Backstreet boy crap and me with naked hot women :) hehe

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 16:28 1

15. ivanko34 (Posts: 617; Member since: 04 Sep 2011)

So both Apple and Google will get a patent for the same thing ?

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 16:37 2

19. kanagadeepan (Posts: 981; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)

In US, till now more than 5500 patents have been granted for "MOUSE TRAPS"... So this is NOT uncommon...

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 18:43 2

32. ivanko34 (Posts: 617; Member since: 04 Sep 2011)

Do you know if all 5500 patents belong to Apple ?

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 19:32

35. Owlet (Posts: 450; Member since: 21 Feb 2011)

That is hilarious! :-D

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 20:10

37. quickweevil (Posts: 51; Member since: 21 Dec 2011)

Alright. That was funny. Haha

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 17:24

25. voxmarc (Posts: 335; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)

Careful on the comments guys, about Apple losing...this is iPhoneArena remember?

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 17:26

26. voxmarc (Posts: 335; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)

Careful on the comments guys, about Apple losing...this is iPhoneArena remember?

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 19:21

33. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

Bout time I was hoping they would getting before the GREEDY FRUIT gets it then start SUING someone all over again.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 21:44 1

39. Savage (unregistered)

Don't worry Google, Apple will still use their Slide to Unlock for a close to a 100 years before they switch to any other methods.
Maybe you should also patent the pattern, combination unlock too.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 22:06 1

41. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

All I can say is...whew. Congrats Google.

posted on 05 Sep 2012, 23:32

42. android8 (Posts: 23; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)

Great News !!!!
It is essential that Innovations by Android team are preserved and considered to be an IP.

posted on 06 Sep 2012, 08:28

44. qwertypoor (Posts: 72; Member since: 09 Jun 2012)

They haven't got the notification patent yet?

posted on 03 Jan 2013, 13:36

49. ArchaicKing (Posts: 1; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)

kinda funny all the comments about Apple. Main point- If you develop software for any iOS device and you don't work for Apple, then you get sued and your software becomes their property. They want exclusive rights to your personal information with no limits on how or when they collect it and sole rights to sell your information to whomever they wish as often as they wish. Apple has tried suing Kodak for their color enhancement software, Adobe for their flash software, Google for their Android software, etc. When they lose they impose a new software update to remove all software from all their iOS devices to remove software they don't control major interest. They designed iPads with major security flaws, knowing the flaws were there, just to prove a point. And all iOS devices incorporate some form of GPS in their design by hardware and software that even when disabled by the Settings still runs. For all the supposed innovations that Apple was responsible for, they forgot without the Intel hardware and software, their company would have been like alot of other computer companies, just bankrupt and dead. The only thing a iOS product is good for is taking up space in a landfill. If a Apple isn't good for eating then it should be thrown away. I'm just glad Android by Google helps me laugh at everything Apple makes. But who knows, maybe Apple will sue IBM claiming they invented the computer and MicroSoft claiming they invented the first almost universal OS for computers worldwide. I have seen Apple at its best and to me it was joke then and is a bigger joke now. Wonder why so many people buy Apple products knowing that everybody else sells technology that is better than theirs yet Apple charges a much larger fee for their crap. iPods, iPads, iPhones, iTablets, etc. iThink it's time for Apple to get iReal and stop trying to rip off everybody or just go iBroke.

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