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

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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.

Top Rated Comments

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109 months ago
You mean "Slide to unlock"....
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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109 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.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 months ago
Going by the Xoom result, hopefully this means that Google have done enough to differentiate between Apple's method with Ice Cream Sandwich (and beyond).

Not a bad win for Apple at all.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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109 months ago
hmmmm....

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...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 months ago
Hello moto
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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