Oct 25 AT 4:37 PM Anthony Domanico 138 Comments

The lawsuits are about to get uglier: Apple wins patent on slide to unlock

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Apple has scored a potentially key victory in the Great Patent Race of 2011. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted Apple a patent on the “Slide to Unlock” functionality that was made popular with the introduction of the iPhone and is now found in many Android devices. The details on the patent are as follows (you can also find an image in the gallery):

A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture. In addition, there is a need for sensory feedback to the user regarding progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition that is required for the transition to occur.Apple Slide to Unlock Patentvia USPTO

The language in the patent is vague enough that it could apply to all Android phones on the market today, and even potentially the lockscreen in the unreleased Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The patent appears to cover all pre-defined gestures that serve to unlock your device, as well as the use of unlock imagery as a means of helping a user unlock their device. It appears, for now, that every Android manufacturer out is potentially infringing on Apple’s patent.

It’s still unclear at this time exactly what this news will mean for Android devices. We will likely learn more over the next few weeks and months as manufacturers develop courses of action. One thing’s for sure though; Apple’s legal department is certainly grinning from ear to ear, plotting their next series of patent infringement lawsuits against Android manufacturers. Could this be what Steve meant when he said that he wanted to destroy Android?

What do you guys think? Are you worried about Apple’s shiny new patent? Does Google need to significantly change their lockscreen concept to become compliant with the new patent and avoid costly lawsuits? Sound off below.

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Source: 9 to 5 Mac

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • Joe

    Good. There are better ways to unlock touch devices, and ICS has one of them.

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      how is the ice cream sandwich lockscreen not a slide-to-unlock? You slide to a lock icon, right?

      • http://www.3for.tv 3for.tv

        HTC’s lockscreen on their sense 3.0 phones brings up an interesting question. I can drag the “lock ring” in any direction, to unlock the phone. Granted I’m “sliding” it, but it’s not a “predefined” direction. It’s any direction.

        Does this count too?

        • The Omega Man

          This is the loophole in the patent language.

          • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

            it could be a loophole, but probably not

            Well soon see, I guess

        • Lucian Armasu

          Nice find there. That loophole may work for ICS, too. Still, it’s ridiculous how patents are written. The patent system is completely broken. All you need to do is write it broadly enough so that you can cover everything your competitor could do a few years later.

        • TruFactz

          Good Question cause i have the Sensation 4G. Thats kinda lame if it does count though.

        • Frettfreak

          it says predefined GESTURE not direction. This is a capital uh-oh for android devices. this patent is so FN vague apple will use this to royally screw any android manufacture they can. I really hate those bitches!!

          • Michael

            I would think a predefined gesture is something like tracing out a shape or letter on the screen. Dragging the ring away from its point of origin can be accomplished in an infinite amount of ways and none of them are predefined..

            Also if you consider the coined phrase “slide to unlock”, “slide” is moving along a path that is fixed to a plane. While the screen is a plane it could be argued that it is not an applicable plane since there are only two programmable axis-es on the screen (neither of which are the screen itself). No matter the function or gesture something will always be sliding along the fixed plane of the screen.

            The original slide function of the iPhone was sliding along the horizontal axis of the screen. I think that there are several ways to argue this case and that it is ultimately up for the judge to decide.

      • http://varemenos.com/ Varemenos

        he is obviously talking about facial unlock

        • m3kw

          Facial unlock will only work if you are facing your phone directly. A lot of times i find my self unlocking it on a desk or while taking it out of my pocket nonchantlauntly, now i have to take it out, have it face me, and wait for it to recongnize me, and hope somone don’t try to unlock my phone using my photo.

          • Harald Korneliussen

            > and hope somone don’t try to unlock my phone using my photo.

            Compared to regular unlock, which would only require a finger (not necessarily yours!) it’s still a security improvement.

      • rico

        face detection silly

      • xoed

        Well, wouldn’t this also hurt Apple as Haptic Feedback is a trademark and current patent that Immersion Corporation holds. How could Apple file for this and get approved when its already a patented technology.

    • CTown

      The article states: “The language in the patent is vague enough that it could apply to all Android phones on the market today, and even potentially the lockscreen in the unreleased Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.”

      Anyway, I like the ring lockscreen introduced in CM7.1. I especially love the fact that one can set four apps to go straight to when unlocking!

    • Tangent

      Facial recognition unlock looks neat to me, but I’ll probably never use it. I don’t want to have to hold my phone up to my face every time I unlock it. Sometimes I’d rather be a bit more discreet and hold it out of sight so it’s not obvious I’m using it. Not to mention if I’m using it in an area with little to no light how well will this work? Will I need to hold it close to my face so the display itself provides enough light for the camera?

  • hector

    I think ICS lockscreen doesn’t look anywhere near the patent’s drawings, so maybe we’ll be lucky on this one!

    • AppleFUD

      That and being awarded a patent does not mean the patent is valid and/or that there is NOT prior art. The patent office these days pretty much slaps an OK on anything software related figuring. . . the courts will sort it out.

      Remember, the Netherlands kicked out 9 of 10 patents apples tried to sue Samsung over. 9 out of 10! And the judge stated that the 10th most likely isn’t valid either. In other words, software patents are generally worth about the same as what you wipe your butt with.

      Sure, apple will be total pricks and add this to the list of crap they are trying to sue everyone for. . . that doesn’t mean it will stick.

      And if it does. . . we already have facial recognition lol

      Funniest part is. . . apple is so lame they actually spent time to patent something this lame! Now that’s true innovation. . .WTFE!

      • akhi216

        Agreed. Why do companies think that they have a right to sue for for someone else making such a natural thing like slide to unlock? Hello!!! We’re dealing with touchscreen phones here!… Come on, you can’t just sue the world over generic and hardly original ideas.

  • Chris

    The. Fuck.

    WTF were they thinking granting this stupid patent…Seriously. The system needs change. Vauge is not good enough when it comes to patenting ideas.

    • iamXiV92a

      This is absolutely absurd. How far is Apple going to go/get away with when it comes to these phones. They wanted to coin the term App Store, which fortunately they lost – ‘Slide to Unlock’?? Are you kidding me? What next… are they going to say that ALL manufacturers are infringing on their patents because their devices are also slightly rectangular like the iPhone therein bearing too much resemblance? Bollocks Apple, get off your high horse!

      Granted I’m sure Google has something else that would be notably WAY cooler, but like you said Chris, the system needs to change.

      • akhi216

        This. How someone feels that they can sue over such generic usage of two words such as App Store is beyond me… What next? get a patent on screen ppi?

      • jm

        Actually, it wasn’t “app store” that they wanted to paten, it was “app”. It was refused as the term was far too generic and it was an abbreviation of a word, and you cannot patent a word.

    • Tangent

      This is what happens when you get patent applications reviewed by people with little to no knowledge of the field. Anyone familiar with smartphones would have been able to recognize immediately that this was obvious and not worthy of a patent.

  • mustybooks

    some of these patents…

  • WarDrake

    Dear god… what is wrong with the patent office…
    Apple is already being a nightmare for everyone and they just keep giving it ridiculous weapons to use…

    • rico

      the thing is no one was doing it before the iPhone i believe . i believe it should only apply the way its being used on the iproducts.

      • http://Camsvirtualrealityreality.blogspot.com Vectrex

        Nearly every episode of startrek had someone doing a two finger “slide to teleport” gesture. How obvious and well known does it have to be to count as prior art?!

      • Frettfreak

        nope… check the source link. 9 to 5 mac even shows that there was a device (with video) to actually go to market with this gesture already on it… thats why a dutch court threw this crap out.. cause its total bullshit.. they didnt invent anything.. they stole it.

  • triangle

    I hope it’s a very narrow definition of “slide to unlock” in the way that apple has it set in their products. In ICS, the unlocking mechanism looks very different from the way that apple has implemented it.

    But you know that apple will try whatever way they can “to destroy android”, quoting Steve Jobs.

    • xsynth

      I hope so too. It does mention that it slides along a predefined path, which 4.0 doesn’t (you drag it around in that circle), so hopefully it doesn’t apply to ICS.

  • Adam

    Does apple have a patent on moving your finger on screen to scroll too?

  • http://gearnyt.dk Daniel Lomholt

    Fuck this shit man, I hate Apple. I will NEVER buy any of their products. What a bunch of losers. And how the hell can the US government even grant this patent? Seriously – it’s been on phones for ages now…..

  • Wasim

    the facial unlock is gonna be so bomb….it works a lot better than it did during the event! and people need to stop worrying about the whole “using a photo” deal, cuz if your that worried about someone getting into your phone, then dont give it to them!! someone stealing it is another question, but its easier to “slide to unlock” than it is to find a photo of someone who’s phone u just stole!

    • http://varemenos.com/ Varemenos

      it wont be actually, its not practical enough

      • http://www.3for.tv 3for.tv

        It’s a good idea, accept when I try to unlock my phone in a dark room.

        • kenny G

          We’ll see what gets implemented. I am sure they’ve considered night environments. maybe it defaults to entering in a code. or maybe setting another unlock facial recognition photo for unlocking in low light.

        • SherlockHomeboy

          It has a PIN backup in case the light is too low or your phone won’t recognize you for whatever reason.

      • poosh2010

        not practical enough??? it takes less than a second to unlock your phone. and if it’s too dark to see you, it goes right to your preset unlock pattern.

        I don’t see how this could be an inconvenience in any way.

        • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

          Ive got face unlock on my current PC and it totally feels like a gimmick.

          • poosh2010

            I agree, the face unlock on my PC is gimmicky as well…it takes way too long and is just plain impractical. But after seeing the galaxy nexus’s face unlock demoed in Japan, I just can’t get over how silky smooth it looked. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the final product looks like.

  • Tristan

    This looks to be rather specific and as such doesn’t seem to cover ics if they change a little thing and have it unlockable by merely sliding out of the circle. It says predefined path.

  • sethoscope

    Well I just patented fingers, so go f yourself.

  • Lamar

    This is totally insane Apple is so full of s*&$! Maybe Google should put a patent on notifications since it seems Apple copied that. Can’t belive the justice system would even consider this, it is just unbelievable

    • poosh2010

      Apple probably already as that patent pending.

  • AK

    Cue Google Lawyers patenting notification panes.

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      considering apple filed for this patent in 2005, I bet Google already has a patent filed out there.

  • Phil

    One big problem here is not only Android but Windows 8 also uses a side to unlock function. I’m curious, Android was around before ios was developed. I wonder if the earlier versions had to slide to unlock function.

  • Omega Supreme

    Jobs was a dictator. His legal department even more so. These patents are frivolous and are absolute proof that Apple is scared stiff of Android, so asset denial s the only way to save its luxurious hide, rather than fair competition where everyone gets a fighting chance. Then again, Apple has never been about fairness & free will.

  • rock3r

    The funny thing is that, when this patent was thrown in by Apple into the war, the people in some web site (I think it might have been Engadget) found out a clear case of prior art, a northern-europe (svedish?) phone, that had that exact same gesture to unlock screen. Those guys should sue Apple fo stealing their idea, or at least someone should notice the USPTO staff that that patent does simply not belong to Apple.

    • CJ

      I was rocking a Windows Mobile 6 phone, i-mate JASJAR, back in 2006 that you had to “slide to unlock”. Maybe my match is bad but it seems to me that that was before the iPhone was even a tingle in the sack of Jonathan Ive.

    • Yashar

      Haven’t you heard about the last paper Obama The Puppet signed on?! The one that says you ARE the owner of a technology if you are the first to put a patent on it no matter who created or developed the technology.. Now that’s some legal system (sewer)

  • Andrew

    I sure am glad I patented that ‘fart to unlock’ technology back in 1996 so I can make it public property, otherwise we’d be staring at lockscreens for the rest of our non-Apple lifetimes.

    What a bunch of petty bureaucrats. Makes the EU seem sensible.

  • remmbermytitans

    I wouldn’t worry too much. ICS has facial unlock, and Android already has PIN, Password and Pattern unlock. The worst thing that happens is that Google forces Android users to use those unlock methods.

    • mustybooks

      would pattern lock fall under “slide” do you think?

  • chris

    Wonder if android will be safe due to previous art? Not to mention android and ics uses a much different unlock mechanism than apple.

  • dandwdad

    This is beyond ignorant. A gesture could be said to include tapping out numbers in sequence… by this “The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. ” Contact with the display … a predefined gesture. Heck, touching the screen alone is a predefined gesture. This basically says any touch screen device with a locking mechanism of any kind that requires a touch to unlock is infringing on something that isn’t Apple’s to hold.

    Patents are supposed to be given for something that’s original not something that’s a basic useful thing people would do on their own, NOT like “1-click” and menu bars and “clicking to launch a phone call from a number on the screen” – these are things that aren’t rocket science, it’s something that derives naturally from the design of humans. I had ideas like this a decade ago but since I don’t have the $ I couldn’t lie and pretend that I came up with something original … Protecting this only for Apple is not in the vein of good, it’s pandering to the businesses and destroying any future for growth – first gestures, next the physical buttons on the device (all of them), then the idea of a computer smaller than a tablet… but wait they came up with the tablet too! (cough….)

    I used to be a fan of Mac. I understood that “Think Different” was a joke – that the point of Apple was one point for software and hardware equals more chance that an ‘okayed’ piece of software will work, but now they are beyond controlling, they are acting as if they came up with the cell phone! Sorry, it ain’t so – for 4 years I’ve had a phone sized computer running linux that has a touch screen and a cell phone module on it, along with HDMI, USB, SD card slot and it is utterly configurable, no need for iAnything to configure it. My “comp-phone” does the the very same thing they say is theirs, but I’ve had for years already – built into Linux from the early tablets created way before iWhatever.

    I no longer will ever speak to other people about the A company. When asked for recommendations it’ll now be “talk to someone else…” – as to USPTO, there aren’t words to describe how you are failing the U.S. citizens.

    • Farran

      I can’t upvote this enough. I hate them so much.
      And I’m sat in a lecture listening to a guy telling us how good Apple and Steve Jobs are because they did so well at life.

  • BigBrotha4080

    I would love to be on Apple’s legal team. Everyday is a great day, because you get to wake up, serve legal papers to a competitor, fight with them in court, cash the retainer check, and do the same thing again tomorrow.

  • http://www.3for.tv 3for.tv

    Google should just shut down access from all iOS devices to their servers. Then Apple would come crawling on their hands and knees.

  • dandwdad

    And yes, I understand the patent request was from 2005, but I wasn’t even going to go into the tablets from years before that. Apple is …. I’m out of words I can write in public.

    • http://www.3for.tv 3for.tv

      Sooo let me get this straight… I can patent ANYTHING, even if I don’t have the technology to see it through yet?

      So I can patent “method for levitating skateboard” or “method for self-tying-shoes” and then when they come out, I can sue the ba-jeezus out of anyone?

      • jm

        This is only true in the USA (for some unknown reason). In the UK, and other countries, you cannot apply for a patent on a “programme for a computer”. You can only patent an invention, and it has to have a technical advantage to a system or hardware for it to even be thought about being granted.

  • Sparhawk2k

    CAN you change the unlock system to bypass this? In my reading, it’s broad enough that the idea of an unlock using a touch screen qualifies.

    The only solution I can think of is a physical unlock switch. Which is just crazy.

  • James Jun

    This applies to every single unlock screen. Stupid..

  • Tristan

    Yea reading this this seems to be a lot more specific than we think…Hence the art for it.

    Sure as hell hope they patented their slide to unlock and not the entire concept of sliding to unlock a screen.

  • pitacrisps

    If Apple wants to patent slide to unlock, the Google should patent the notification bar that iOS5 now exhibits!

  • R.S

    Do any Android phones have an unlock feature where you slide a little tab from right to left in a set pattern?

    I know my phone didn’t. It had a horizontal bad that you slide downward not across.

    As for ICS’s facial unlock, that’s only if you password lock your phone isn’t it? Sort of like we currently have to enter a password or use the 3 x 4 dots to swipe a pattern that we chose?

    If it only applies to the screen unlock, then I don’t see it as being that big of a deal. I still think it’s BS especially if it will apply to any type of screen unlock feature where you have to touch the screen. However, if it’s not, them Google could, if forced to, use a method where you either use physical buttons (or capacitive buttons). For example, use the home button then the back button then options/features button to unlock. Essentially unlock the phone the way we used to.

  • poosh2010

    why doesn’t Apple just patent the QWERTY keyboard and be done with it

  • R.S

    Ooops, I meant slide a little tab from left to right.

  • Tristan

    lol, just realized something

    this doesn’t effect ICS at all (it seems)

    there is no predefined path as you can take any path you want to get the lock image from the middle of the circle to the unlock or camera icon. lol…you can make a dozen parabolas and then unlock it if you want whereas in iOS you MUST go left to right.

  • http://www.fifthmissionmarketing.com a

    Next they are going to say they invented the mouse for a computer. isn’t 20 billion in the bank enough for them to just be happy they innovated the smart phone market?

  • pt

    Hmmm, Guess its times to change the wording a bit:

    Secure/Unsecure your phone
    Open/Close your phone
    Encode/Decode your phone
    Hide/Unhide your phone


    they could also change the “sliding” to “throwing” etc. and even use various other methods to unlock easily enough. Oh look they already have facial unlock, what about gesture unlock, e.g. “throwing a sign” at your phone to unlock…….”east sihide!” ;) hehe


    • TrailorParkKid

      I don’t slide, I drag. Nuff said.

  • sap26

    I just want to say that I have enjoyed reading and laughing at all these comments. It’s obvious how ridiculous these patents are. When will these patent wars end? I’m waiting on apple to release their patent regarding the use of fingers on touchscreens.

  • Matt

    *face plant into desk* WOW REALLY???? REEEEAAAALLLY?

  • user x

    No one worry, Samsung is counter-sue’ing with a “toggle that controls display light control to LCD” patent.

    otherwise, the fucking power button.
    and you know what? Samsung shall piss all over a slide to unlock patent infringement.

    wait a minute.. samsung.. YOU DID PATENT THE POWER BUTTON DIDN’T [email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]#@$*(@#&@(#!*&@T

  • Mark

    I know this might not be popular, but thinking back to when the iPhone first came out – their swipe to unlock setup was quite unique.

    Even my HTC Dream/G1 at first required the ‘menu’ button to be pressed to unlock.

    I think that it’s important to realize that what might now be ubiquitous at the time of the filing might have been quite novel.

    My 2 cents.

  • BrandoHD

    This is a good read with regards to this patent, it just goes to show that the system is broken


  • Perry Ahern

    I believe there’s a loophole in the final statement: ” In addition, there is a need for sensory feedback to the user regarding progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition that is required for the transition to occur.”

    Notice that previous statements said there “may be” or “may include” certain elements, but there says there “needs” to be haptic feedback.

    If that’s the case then the answer is simple. Remove the haptic feedback from any existing unlock systems and there won’t be any infringement of this patent.

  • Renato S.

    oh god… this type of software patent is just stupid! It’s too childish, what’s the point?

  • kev eden

    Would this patent cover “entering pin number to unlock the device”?

  • finndogg

    Well I guess the only thing got got left is the color of the phone. Watch their gonna try to sue for making black or white phone now and using q metal case to lol. Apple is a JOKE, grow up and get a life.

  • xProteus

    off-topic: i saw a car with a license plate “LAWYER” the other day, and just thought how the f#$% can you be proud of that, when you are all that what’s wrong with the world.

    Back on topic, it’s sad that politicians and ip lawyers have turned the patent system this way. And I don’t think the majority of people even know what a patent was supposed to do.

    The patent system was intended to spur innovation not hamper it. Gives the inventor EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS for a LIMITED TIME in exchange for PUBLIC DISCLOSURE.

    Show us how you do what you’re doing so everyone else can improve on it (and save on time reverse engineering), but we’ll protect you for a while so you can market your version of it. Patents were to be used as springboards to base other products from. So by filing a patent (back in those days anyway) you had to understand that you were giving away your ideas to be improved upon. It was never meant to be used to “mafia” the competition as baseball bats.

    The system as it is today is a mutated perversion of what it was supposed to be, brought to life by politicians, lawyers and greedy business people.

  • wtf…

    wow…speechless…to be able to patent something as simple as that…you’ve got to be fucking kidding me…

  • skidmarksally

    This patent is garbage. How can u patent a unlock gesture like sliding lol Google better patent the face unlock before apple try to get that too ha

  • Dee

    While this is extremely ridiculous and annoying im more interested in how Google will respond to this. They might even have to come up with a whole new way to unlock phones! While that could be taxing it could also be innovative and totally backfire on Apple and theitheir schemes.

    • sap26

      I too am interested I’m Google’s rebuttal. I’m hoping for something more like, “really, apple?!”

  • Nathan

    Wow these types of patients always win for so dum reason

  • Foo

    “The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture.”

    I’m thinking, as long as there aren’t indicators to the user as to where to slide to or what to do, it doesn’t infringe on the patent?

    Does this mean that even if we have a complete clone of the iOS slider, only without the ‘Slide to unlock’ cue, the patent isn’t infringed?

  • applebasher

    This even covers picking numerical password on a touch-sensitive screen (everything else is mentioned with “may”). Just too broad and totally obvious. Funny how dragging an icon with a finger instead of with a pointer is considered innovation.

    Countdown starts – how long shall it take for Apple to throw the new gift from USPTO into the mix.

  • Rashad

    That is an extremely vague patent, it’s just poor sportsmanship from Apple at this point.

  • http://youtube.com/user/jawckamoe Marcus

    What the heck is wrong with Apple. What a bunch of arrogant ignorant pricks. They know they can’t win. I cant believe how egotistical they are. Ugh. SMH. Its hard to believe how many people there are like this in the world -_-

  • sylar

    Could it get any more general, how about a patent on walking on two feet?

    You know I think I’m going to go get a patent on getting patents and one on thinking.

  • nory826

    Oh man I’m so tired of apple attacking android in the courtroom. Do it the right way and come up with new ideas so you can compete.

  • charliethesuperturtle

    is apple drunk? stop complaining and such a franks wiener

  • http://www.kablowie.com Greg Bulmash

    Used to be a fan of Apple, but they went to the dark side and now they’re trying to out-evil 1990s Microsoft.

    Arrogant, money-grubbing pricks.

    Occupy Cupertino!

  • Legend

    I can see it now, ‘Apple awarded rounded corners patent’.
    Either the people reviewing the patent requests are bias having iProducts themselves or are completely incompetent…

  • Samar

    I just wonder “why do the courts even entertain such patents !!” Just looks ridiculous on their part.
    It would only block some small start-ups to put something cool out there using this. The patent should be very specific and not generic, so as to cover any type of device built in future with such technology. C’mon now.

    • Samar

      There should be some kinda online / written referendum from all technology enthusiasts out there against this. Lets see then how many people agree with such kinda patents getting passed.

      PS: I don’t own either an iProduct or an Android product. Just a technology enthusiast who loves to see cool things being brought to us, the people.

  • bstringy

    Perhaps users will have the choice to add their own 3rd party lockscreen. Maybe someone will offer a dead-simple sdk that allows users to create their own.

  • kiamo

    What’s next? Are apple going to patent entering ascii characters into text fields via a touch screen?

    Honestly, I have so much distaste for apple it feels like I’ve become a moody 16 year old all over again.

    It’s like someone patenting the wheel.

  • NoNeedForMonkeys

    It has been shown time and time again, that the US patents system can be bamboozled by software patents. I say software patents, as I know that mechanical design patents are heavily scrutinized in design review panels, from this every detail of function has to be explained thoroughly. I own a few mechanical design patents for my inventions; in comparison, software patents are really really vague and ambiguous. The kicker is that they are using the fact that the US patents system cannot understand software functions, so they describe a software function as it relates to some concept of hardware. If the US Patents system forced software patent to submit the lines of code used to define a specific function (like they do for mechanical design), then there would be no contention = FIXED. US history showed patents for dozens of egg beater designs, all do the same function, all can exist together (IP is in the actual design not the concept). Apple is trying to effectively patent a car by patenting the concept of an engine computer with embedded software.
    Apple knew and knows that getting specific key words into the patent disclosure would not alarm the patent review, yet the patent lawyers at Apple know they can turn a specific interpretation of those words into a “plausible” enough case to get a day in court.

    Apple will use this first against Samsung. Why? Just cause they can.

    Apple’s arrogance will ultimately be their undoing. I know that there are others doing this “software concept” patenting, I just do not see those other companies using their “software concept” patents to destroy the competition.

    I own and operate Linux, Windows, and OSX pc’s. My household has both Android and iOS devices as well. I currently am not happy with my friends at Apple for abusing the US patents system into a weapon pushing anti-competitive practice. -bad corporate citizen -bad

  • http://Camsvirtualrealityreality.blogspot.com Vectrex

    Solution: get rid of the unlock screen, it’s pointless. I’ve removed the unlock ever since I had an android phone and never once accidentally pressed it I my pocket. It’s just an annoying step with no gain. You have to press a hardware button usually to even being it up.
    And/or do the double tap to unlock thing nokia does.

    • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

      Or tap out something or maybe even a rhythm! That would be awesome.

      I’m going to go patent that idea now and get paid!

  • SherlockHomeboy

    I’ll bet it gets thrown out the second it gets challenged in court.

  • http://None CaribGrackle

    Apple, once again, trying to compete, in a non-sportive way, walking all over the other competitors instead of innovation and attracting people by making something truly revolutionary. “Think Different” my app, this is old-school dirty business, together with an ideal of not besting out the the others but actually destroy them. The idea is just infused with evil. The Patent Wars are ruining the development of the future, the patent system itself seems quite broken at the time and out of control. And that patent is quite vague and at the same time broad-enough, its like it was just written by Apple itself to piss-off everybody. Not cool people, not cool. and you accuse Google/Android of trying to become the next Microsoft? For shame.

  • abe

    There is prior art already. Just think of Windows Mobile (not the windows phone).


    • BondoSHO

      Bingo. What iOS 5 does with the email/missed calls/message notification on the lock screen was done on WinMo 6.5 years prior. With Microsoft going after all the Android manufacturers, they should go after Apple as well.

      • skidmarkally

        Google should Sue apple for the notification bar on top when u slide that down android came up with that way back when the g1 came to play. And if that patent doesnt go through the sliding unlock gesture is should have thrown away in the thrash can.

  • Mark

    Wonder how much they paid the Feds to have this go through.

    S/N: Google should have patented the slide down notification system. That way Crapple can’t use it on their iShit devices.

  • Rodrigo Brasil

    I like the way I unlock my Motorola Atrix, using my fingerprints, wouldn’t it be a solution?

    • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

      Not for existing phones that do not have fingerprint scanners.

  • http://k-selezneva.blogspot.com/ KatSelezneva

    While other companies like Samsung and Google appear in the news thanks to their innovations, Apple is trying to attract the attention of the whole world by its lawsuits and patent wars. It seems to me, to avoid Apple’s claims entirely, other companies should produce spherical phones without displays but with a lot of physical buttons. A good example is the clash between Apple and Samsung: http://k-selezneva.blogspot.com/2011/09/clash-of-titans-samsung-vs-apple.html

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    So, using the face detection to unlock in ICS might be something Google should patent immediately.

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    You’re going to sew everyone? Please, get that needle and thread away from me! :-)

    • AA

      I think he meant to say screw everyone.

  • protozeloz

    There is a slight chance this patent is not actually valid, as patents need to be broken by the word, in theory None of the current touchscreens could violate the patent here is a small read I made, opinions are welcome


  • reddragon72

    I’m not going to read through all these replies, but I waited to post anything until after confirmation of something. Slide to unlock has very specific requirement and one of which that everyone is missing is the fact that the patent requires the “Menu Button 410″ to be there to allow a patent breach. So without all the parts, the numbers listed, then you are not violating the patent. We all know that Apple will try to do something with the patent, but unless all parts are there and in place according to the diagram and specifications then there can be no infringement, and minor, or sub, infringements are usually thrown out.

  • http://flavors.me/clschnei clschnei

    Apple’s new slogan: “There’s a patent for that.”

    • chris0101

      Add to that – if you are an Android phone manufacturer, we’re gonna sue you for it even though we were in most cases, not the first company to actually come up with the idea.

  • Joshua Morgan

    Everyone should send apple an email. I certainly did. While they’ll shrug off one email here and there, if they started getting hundreds of them saying we were boycotting their products and services, then it at least would annoy them.

  • Fred

    From the Apple/Samsung trial in Holland

    “Apple’s patent for swiping onscreen to unlock a device was filed in late 2005, although a little-known Swedish mobile phone manufacturer Neonode was already implementing a similar mechanism on a Windows CE-powered device called the N1M. Further, Samsung has put forward as evidence some articles from 1992 about a “touchscreen toggle design,” as well as early examples of software that use a sliding toggle switch from the early 2000s. All these point to the claim that Apple was not first to market slide-to-unlock mechanisms, but these were already present in existing technologies and, therefore, cannot be patented.

    The judge has agreed, saying that Apple’s claim in this particular area was not inventive, and therefore too trivial to merit a patent in the first place.”

  • Jeb

    that is BS man! Can we NOW have patent reform?!?!?!

  • counsel

    I’d rather just hit an unlock button-would save time and calories ;p. Why is sliding so much “better” than the many alternatives?

  • counsel

    See around 4:15…


    Can we say “prior art?” Android can just remove any sensory feedback to their unlock slide. If the Patent Court makes android manufacturers remove it, the Trolls sit ON the court’s bench ;p

  • ndokami

    i wounder if Google has a patient on the notification bar…?

  • http://www.giquegear.com GiqueGEAR_Todd

    I hate the slide-to-unlock gesture/system. I would welcome something else to take it’s place. And, in a related story, Chevrolet has recently dusted off it’s patent describing a user controlled conveyance featuring four wheels and a combustion engine …

  • Dear Apple

    Why does apple insist on being a fukwit.
    I like the android OS, and I don’t bag IOS or Apple.
    But after reading all this kind of stuff about apple trying to claim they invented everything makes them look so money driven, and makes all the steve jobs nice guy presentation stuff look like a bullshit cover up for their money hunger.

    Apple need to chill the fuk out.

    They just can’t handle competition.

    I’m sure Apple would owe a lot of money to a lot of companies for the functions and features of their products, but other companies aren’t that anal.

    Respect for Apple lost.

    Common Decency

  • Carl

    How will this hurt Microsoft and the new Windows 8 unlock screen? Technically their tablet unlock screen is a picture where you touch/slide to certain points on the picture.

  • http://gtjuegos.com/ Pablo Galcia

    yo lo que creo es que Apple ve que android esta a abarcando todo latino América y parte de Europa y como Apple ve que su crecimiento va muy rápido quiere paral eso de cualquier forma manera … pero androide sigue siendo el mejor sistema operativo para los desarrollares como para los usuario…

  • http://www.nocturnal-roms.co.uk samuel connors

    What the hell. Surely as the android have already had these unlocks before the patent was granted surely the law can’t touch them unless they make more unlocks after the patent was granted. Now I know that all this is starting to get a bit out of hand but all Google need to do is put a patent out to the button lock and unlock. If they win that apple and every device manifacturwr is screwed in the world. Every device can be locked by the button
    But…… every device NEEDS to be woken to be unlocked by a button. Acctualy I am going to email Google now.

  • Willie905

    Sliding should be in the public domain no one owns it

  • pritams

    f*ck those apple guys..

  • tot

    Please read this article. Apple was not the first company to invnet Slide to Unlock. Pass this around. Let it be known so they can lose their patents.


  • Bud

    Apple are patent trolls.

    Slide to unlock is exactly how a regular switch works. Using finger to move switch along a predefined path from one point to another, with visual cues to indicate the direction… this is EXACTLY how a sliding switch works in any electronic device. Slide to unlock is simulating a sliding switch, nothing more.

    It doesn’t matter that the switch turns the device on, or answers a call, it’s a switch, and a switch can perform any action it wants.

    The patent approval business I can only guess is corrupt and/or the people who grant these patents are just stupid. Someone needs to challenge this patent.