Patently ridiculous: Apple gets slide to unlock patent

Patently ridiculous: Apple gets slide to unlock patent
Once again the US Patent & Trademark Office has proven that its workers have too many patents to sort through and not nearly the expertise, common sense, or clear mandate to properly consider each filing. In the newest mess in our series "Patently ridiculous", Apple has finally been granted the patent for the slide to unlock gesture that is used on iOS devices. 

The patent, which had been filed all the way back in 2005, was issued this morning by the USPTO. It likely made it through because no one at the USPTO had ever used a Discman, or any number of laptops which also had slide to unlock mechanisms, or because once you put that same exact mechanism into software on a touchscreen device, it magically becomes unique and patentable. 

The extra scary thing about this patent is that while the images provided for the patent application are the standard slide to unlock seen on iOS devices, the language of the patent is written so broadly that it covers any gesture used to unlock a touchscreen device. The title of the patent is actually "Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image", so could theoretically cover all forms of unlocking including that seen in the Sense UI or on Honeycomb/ICS devices. 

Still, well done to Apple for taking advantage of such a broken system. We'll update you tomorrow when there is likely to be a rash of new patent lawsuits filed against Android manufacturers. 

source: USPTO via 9 to 5 Mac



1. bananakid

Posts: 7; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

In return, Google should patent slide-down/up/left/right notification bar

7. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Google prob hasn't patented it as google is more about open source. Apple on the other hand is hand us all your money and stop competing with and bow on your knees or we will sue

112. E.J.Su

Posts: 25; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Apple doesn't want competitors' money, they just don't want anyone to compete, at all.

117. NeXoS

Posts: 292; Member since: May 03, 2011

Apple didn't invent this, someone else already did: Exhibit A: Skip to 3:55

2. toaster

Posts: 114; Member since: Sep 13, 2011

This patent war is ridiculous and limits innovation. I wish that Apple would stop finding reasons to sue Android OEMs into oblivion and actually make a device that they feel can compete, because this patent mess clearly shows that they don't. I hope this patent is ruled too general, instead it should be something along the lines to "slide to a preordained target to unlock phone". This would allow the Sense-style ring, as you can drag it anywhere on the screen to unlock.

4. pongkie

Posts: 663; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

it would probably ruled too general

3. tomast

Posts: 50; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

so if apple does sue htc for the lock screen what does it mean for people who have a sense 3.0 device?

5. som

Posts: 768; Member since: Nov 10, 2009

Shut down the Patents Office wasted so much time and money on Apple's Patents applications and approval. If Apple were a car maker nobody could built car with 4 wheels.

8. Sackboy117

Posts: 178; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Exactly what i was thinking. For example, all TVs look alike, work alike but made by many different companies. So What if there was a patent that prevented the TV to be turned on by pushing a button (

38. messiah

Posts: 438; Member since: Feb 19, 2010

apple pays well for these findings. patent officers are well rewarded for their comissions. its not rocket science folks.

60. ivanko34

Posts: 617; Member since: Sep 04, 2011

i am sure apple is trying to patent the 4 wheels cars

86. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Indeed if apple were the first to market a mobile phones then they would have it patented so only there phones can be used by human hands as they invented it,all other type phones would have to be worked using other body limbs and appendages. Mind you the apple phones would have poor reception still due to the hands on the antenas!!

12. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

*sighs heavily* Okay, Apple, give us your best shot. Bring it on. Attack the consumers once more.

13. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

You're articles are getting worse Michael. You're going full blown fanboy. Please report the stories without your bias. Thanks

21. cc16177

Posts: 312; Member since: May 09, 2010

Go somewhere else...? This patent is ridiculous, if you feel otherwise I recommend visiting a neurologist and having a brain scan done.

23. cc16177

Posts: 312; Member since: May 09, 2010

Aso, its "your" you f**king idiot.

99. robinrisk unregistered

lol, it's actually "you're" as in "you are". "Your" is used when you own something, like "your phone" I love grammar nazi's spelling mistakes =)

101. maxican16

Posts: 364; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

The first. I love incorrect grammar correction corrections. ;) Can't help cc with his/her spelling however. AND the fact that it's "it's", not its.... whoa boy..

107. robinrisk unregistered

So do you say "it's" or "its"? English's not my native language, so i rely mostly on a few books that i've read to know how things are supposed to be written.

108. maxican16

Posts: 364; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

It's = it is .. ex) It's chilly in Wisconsin. Its = possessive form of it .. ex) The *pple lemming has lost its way.

115. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

Ha. 5char

116. Ivan6479

Posts: 250; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

You iTards cc16177 is correct. It is "Your" because this is Micheal's article. Try reading what taco wrote. If you were to replace "Your" with "You are" like this "You are articles are getting worse Michael.". That just sounds retarded, but then again this is taco the #1 iTard we're talking about here and you are just as retarded for trying to correct cc16177. Lol iTards

27. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

i realize to you apple is god, and everyone else should just dissapear, but for once use the brain that has been sleeping between your ears. This patent covers any and all slide to unlock devices. Slide to unlock has been around as long as touch screens, which is WAAAAAY longer than the iphone has been around. basically now apple can sue any touch screen device at any time no matter how wildly different the slide mechanism is. that is BAD. I realize you lack the mental capacity for deep thought, but suing everyone is bad. competition breeds new features. If it was only the iphone and they had noone to rip off..eerr... borrow ideas from, why would they ever make a new device? You would still be on the iphone2g.. 3g at best. Without competition there is no reason for them to invest in better tech, upgrade software, add new features like siri or android notifications. You have no idea what it is your wishing for.. zero.

49. adroit786

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 23, 2009

@remixfa Well said.......

87. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

unfortunately most islaves are as phonearena pointed out in an article young preteens or teenagers and as such most of this market to which Apple sells majority of its products to are under developed mental and easily swayed by pr guff from Apple. Apple seems 'cool' and trendy as it makes them fit in with their friends and they will happily get their parents or other to buy the exact same apple product year after year. These main Apple buying base will always defend apple on idioctic patents like this as it seems like their cool device is about to be 'more cooler' They don't care about patents and will view apple sueing as a good thing

98. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

i wouldnt want any company to have that much legal power.. apple.. google.. the red cross... no one.

96. bizwhizzy

Posts: 51; Member since: Aug 04, 2011


97. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Sorry Taco, I don't understand. Are you defending the USPTO? I said nothing negative or even untrue about Apple, so I'm assuming you don't appreciate my bias against the USPTO.

114. Sackboy117

Posts: 178; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Taco, if u truly believe that Apple is the greatest, then why bother trying to defend off all the trolls on the articles. If it was the greatest then people like you would not care because no matter what android should do, the iPhone owners will know they have the best out there. So why bother go to Phonearena if you "rich people" with iPhones are supposed to have real lives outside of a computer world.

14. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

I'm glad Apple was granted this patent. I hope they put it to good use.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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