Apple wins permanent injunction in Germany against Motorola over slide-to-unlock patent

“I just returned from the Munich I Regional Court, where Presiding Judge Dr. Peter Guntz publicly announced a decision in Apple’s favor: most of Motorola Mobility’s products were found to infringe on Apple’s slide-to-unlock image patent, EP1964022 on ‘unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image,'” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents.

“Today’s ruling is a permanent injunction that Apple could enforce at its own risk (against a bond),” Mueller reports. “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… [in which] 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.”

“On appeal, Apple will presumably try to win on the third embodiment as well since it could be seen as covered by Apple’s patent. But even with the current scope, this is largely a win for Apple that will result in a noticeable degradation of the user experience of Motorola’s products,” Mueller reports. ” Apple is asserting the same patent as well as a related utility model against Samsung in Mannheim, and can always bring claims against more Android device makers in this jurisdiction. Today’s ruling is significant bad news for Android at large, and Google.”

Much more in the full article here.

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15 Comments

  1. The real value of this is that it means iPhone patents will be protected and enforced. As innovative as slide-to-unlock was at the time of the iPhone unveiling 5 years ago, it’s minor compared to what’s coming next.

    Soon Android will be prohibited from using multitouch on a capacitive screen, having corrective touch screen keyboards, having usable scrolling, not to mention many many other key elements. Android was a very dangerous gambit by Google and they are about to pay big time.

    Oracle will smash their face in, Apple will beat them over the head, and then Google will be begging Microsoft and Apple to please let them be able to search on their phones.

    It will be a thing of beauty.

  2. Wanna know how big the patent is, and its future impact. Look at this Indian commercial that bets the differentiating quality of the phone, above all, on the slide to access action of iPhone. The actor then signs off with that, just to underscore the point. That’s a powerful feature with psychological/emotional advantage (useful and intuitive), and a good patent to defend.

    1. As far as I’m concerned, Android is a stolen product so Apple should hit them with every single patent that they have. But practically it makes sense to pick and chose. Can you imagine how long a court case would take if Apple sued Samesung with 3,000+ patents? (Assuming the court did not demand they pare down the number).

  3. Damn right! Apple’s “Slide to Unlock” solution was a moment of simplicity inspired genius that nobody had thought of prior, on any touch interface.

    However, it doesn’t mean the patent also applies to the act of sliding from pane to pane (iBall ad), as that has been part of every touch interface since the concept stage. This ruling will force Motorola to find another unlock solution (maybe users will have to tap or draw a circle … etc) and spend money on R&D this time instead of just copying.

  4. Patent states: “A series of gestures on a graphic element”

    Circle, square, triangle, tap, slide or pinch, It isn’t going to help them. Use a plastic button suckers!

  5. Hey Motoroba & Samesung – time to put a big, nasty, clunky, probably breakable on/off switch on your devices. No patented smooth touchy feely screen on/off slider for you.

  6. This Florian Mueller sure gets around Germany: Mannheim to Munich to Duesseldork to Berlin, then over to The Netherlands – he’s putting a lot of miles on his BMW and probably hitting 120mph on the no-speed-limit autobahn.

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