Apple sued over alleged patent infringement for Auto Unlock with Apple Watch feature

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Apple sued over alleged patent infringement for Auto Unlock with Apple Watch feature
Apple's Auto Unlock with Apple Watch was first introduced during the now distant WWDC 2016, which ran from June 13, 2016, to June 17, 2016. First off, the Auto Unlock was available for Mac, and later, the same Auto Unlock feature came to iPhones with Face ID (with iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4).

But a company now thinks Apple has stolen the Auto Unlock feature from them and has filed a patent infringement lawsuit, reports Patently Apple.

Apple getting sued for patent infringement for the Auto Unlock with Apple Watch feature


The patent the company SmartWatch MobileConcepts LLC is referring to is patent 10,362,480 titled “Systems, Methods, and Apparatuses for Enabling Wearable Device user Access to Secured Electronics Systems”. The patent was filed by members of the Ortiz family.

Curiously though, the patent mentioned above was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on August 11, 2016. The thing is, the Auto Unlock with Apple Watch feature for Mac was announced by Apple during WWDC 2016... which ran from June 13 to June 17. Almost two months before the patent was even filed.

The patent was issued on December 27, 2016, according to the contents of the filed lawsuit. As you can see on the patent page with the USPTO, the patent was published on February 16, 2017. Something doesn't match up with the dates here.

On top of that, it makes sense that Apple has worked on the feature before announcing it during its annual developer conference. With all that being said, it seems unlikely that the company that is trying to sue Apple will win this case, but that's, as you know, up to the court.

According to the claims in the lawsuit, Apple has infringed on methods and systems that enabled a wearable device to access secured electronic systems.

That's not the first time Apple has been sued for infringing patents. It had lawsuits with CalTech (on Wi-Fi tech, Apple won this one recently), with WiLAN (over iPhone 6 and 7 LTE wireless standard - still ongoing), and many other companies. So, it's not unheard of for Apple and other smaller (or bigger) companies to go to court for patent infringement cases.

In this situation though, it seems likely Apple could win. But, as you know, court systems and lawsuits are pretty complicated and it doesn't boil down to just a date... so, we'll have to wait and see what the outcome of this one will be.

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