Apple Wins German Injunction Against Motorola Over "Swipe to Unlock" Patents

Thursday February 16, 2012 10:22 AM PST by Jordan Golson
Apple has won what could be a fairly significant victory in its wide array of ongoing patent lawsuits. A German court has ruled that a number of Motorola Mobility products infringe on Apple's European slide-to-unlock patent, EP1964022. The ruling is a permanent -- but appealable -- injunction that Apple can enforce today if it is willing to post a large bond against Motorola's almost certain appeal.


Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents reports on the details of the decision:
The court evaluated three different embodiments. Apple won on the two that Motorola's smartphones implement. It did not prevail on the third one, which the Xoom tablet uses. That implementation is very similar to what I have on my Samsung Galaxy Note: the user has to make a swiping gesture from the inside of a circle to the outside. It requires a relatively large screen to work somewhat well, but even then it's not very intuitive. (I'm a very happy Galaxy Note user, but it has its shortcomings and the slide-to-unlock circle is one of them.)
Mueller believes that Motorola is unlikely to win on appeal. If the injunction stands, the user experience for the owners of Motorola products might be just a little bit poorer -- exactly what Apple wants.

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Posted: 35 months ago
You mean "Slide to unlock"....
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago

While the unlock screen says "slide", Apple calls the physical motion of moving a finger across the screen a "swipe".


A "swipe" is just a motion. It has no predefined path nor does it move anything. You can have mostly horizontal, mostly vertical, or a combination.

"Slide" specifically refers to sliding an object. In the case of Apple's "slide to unlock", it's sliding the object along a specific path.

The difference is important to us touchscreen folk :)

Does anyone else see this as a major threat over Motorola if they want to try to ban iCloud in Germany? A little Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) from the good old Cold War days. :eek:


The two types of patents aren't even in the same ballpark as far as importance goes.

Apple's slide to unlock patent is visual fluff. Motorola won't even have to slow down sales; they can just change their unlock method to get around it.

Motorola's patent on push is more fundamental and important to Apple's iCloud implementation.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago
While I 100% support apples right to defend its patents in any way necessary,... who at the patent office decided to award a patent for that...
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago

You mean "Slide to unlock"....

While the unlock screen says "slide", Apple calls the physical motion of moving a finger across the screen a "swipe".



They're pretty much interchangeable though.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago
Software patents should be banned.
Patents in general need to be greatly restricted.
I speak as both a consumer and an inventor.
The patent hoarders, Apple included, are destroying innovation.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago
I’m sure Apple had some difficult soul-searching to do during the long development of the iPhone and iOS.

On the one hand, they were inventing a radically new kind of device and software platform—an experience never before seen, which would touch all aspects of computing and our lives as a whole. Huge numbers of new ideas; huge numbers of old ideas re-worked in new and better ways. They wanted this to succeed, not just for the company’s bottom line but to bring their vision to people who would love it.

On the other hand, they probably really wanted to be the only big tech company that just gave all their ideas away to the competition. Just because every other company patents ideas both big and small (and sues Apple over them left and right) why should Apple play the game? I’m sure they really wanted to just roll over and be the lone “good guy” who didn’t defend their work.

But it was not to be. And so here we have apple defending small patents, not just the earthshaking ones. Just like every other company does. Oh, well! Maybe it’s for the best. They didn’t invent the current patent game, but they’re not surrendering either.
Rating: 0 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago
It seems Germany has turned into the East Texas court for patents.
Didn't the same patent get tossed out in multiple other countries already?

Of the manufactures Motorola is the only one who still really uses the slide the unlock. The others all have different formats that are pretty different. Sense 3.0 and above for example uses a ring method and how it is done I really like. Samsung has a different way of doing as well so even the win is minor and not going to be translate to the others any how.
Rating: 0 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago

Does anyone else see this as a major threat over Motorola if they want to try to ban iCloud in Germany? A little Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) from the good old Cold War days. :eek:


Not really. Apple could threaten it but end result is the courts would give Motorola so many days to get an update out to get around it because it is already been proven they have an easy method to do it. Top it off there are quite a few other options out there that they could use.

Apple slide to unlock patent fail against Samsung and HTC. I want to say a dutch court even said it was invalid but either way those two prove that Motorola could easy get around it.

End of the day German court has turned into the Europe's version of the East Texas Patent court. The bar to get a injunction is set way to low. Big powerful companies could basically risk the money and force the other company into bankruptcy or weaken them so much that they destroyed in the long run.
Rating: 0 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago

[...] The ruling is a permanent -- but appealable -- injunction that Apple can enforce today if it is willing to post a large bond against Motorola's almost certain appeal.[...]


Pretty sure that Apple can afford to sprinkle a few mil here or there for the occasional bond.

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Software patents should be banned.
Patents in general need to be greatly restricted.
I speak as both a consumer and an inventor.
The patent hoarders, Apple included, are destroying innovation.


Freetard. :)
Rating: 0 Votes
Posted: 35 months ago
Does anyone else see this as a major threat over Motorola if they want to try to ban iCloud in Germany? A little Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) from the good old Cold War days. :eek:
Rating: -2 Votes

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