Apple granted injunction against Motorola for slide to unlock

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by mysterioustko, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. mysterioustko macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2011
    Score one for Apple. Looks like the German courts agree with Apple. This will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

    Link to Story
  2. rjohnstone macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2007
    PHX, AZ.
    Not a big deal.
    Moto will simply push an update to change the feature.

    I personally think the patent is absurd, but that's just my opinion.
    I know the Dutch court thought it wouldn't stand up to scrutiny.
  3. F123D macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2008
    Del Mar, CA
  4. mysterioustko thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2011
    I agree that the patent is absurd. Especially considering that there was already a device out prior to the iPhone that had slide to unlock. It's as crazy as the patent Apple obtained for switching apps during a
  5. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    And real patents like 3G technology can be abused without paying a dime for it :D
  6. mysterioustko thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2011
    EXACTLY! That really is crazy when you think about it. You can get a patent for something that already existed and enforce it, but an actual patent for something that didn't exist before you can't enforce? lol I'm going to patent ending a call, so every phone that ends calls will have to pay me lol.
  7. sneaky butcher macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2011
    apple is the most evil & ruthless corporation on the planet.
  8. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    This is ridiculous, but I do wish these companies (handset makers) would focus on nice hardware to complement stock Android. There are already so many third party modders out there making custom UIs. So many times I think the Moto hardware is great, but the software is terrible. I seriously doubt many people using Moto Android devices do so for their "wonderful" overlays.
  9. kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Personally, I'd love to see a real reporter go out and do in-depth backgrounds on the patent examiners and their managers who grant these patents.

    Are they young? Old? Technically trained? Any work experience? Any experience with touch? (A lot of times it's apparent they do not, or they'd know that some of the "inventions" are obvious.)

    Do they hold meetings about what their grants mean to the world? Do they care? Do they have a quota? Do they just figure a bad patent will be challenged?
  10. mysterioustko thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2011
    You just said a mouthful there! I feel the EXACT same way. Sometimes when I hear about what patents were granted, I scratch my head and am just in shock. That's how I felt about Apple being granted the patent for switching apps during a call. Really? Switching apps during a call? That is absurd. BTW I love your posts, you consistently have some of the most informative posts on the forum.
  11. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Another BS suit. Apple and Motorola are always going at each other in German courts. Seems like Motorola's patents are more realistic though.
  12. SporkLover macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2011
    Our patent system is in need of a desperate overhaul.

    There are some many examples like these.
  13. kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    It's okay. As usual, the headlines were wrong. It wasn't for anything major like switching apps during a call.

    That patent was just for that little shaded area at the top of the iPhone screen which you can tap to go back to the call (yes, it's still kind of silly simple):


    Thanks much, that's very kind of you to say!

    Hey, I found out how Patent Examiners are graded on their work each year:

    • 10% on how they interact with the customers.
    • 20% on how they handle their workflow.
    • 35% on how much they produce.
    • 35% on the quality of their output (research and patentability).

    The last item... their primary task... used to be 40% of their performance review until a couple of years ago.
  14. sneaky butcher macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2011
  15. motoleo macrumors 6502a


    Jan 27, 2012
    Why do people keep trying to copy from Apple? Why?
  16. sneaky butcher macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2011
    slide to unlock was around before apple ever used it. Its just that nobody bothered patenting it. Dutch courts have already declared the "slide to unlock" patent invalid becuase it was around before and is "obvious" for a touch screen device.

    For some reason the german courts upheld this nonsense patent. I guess apple must pay the huns quite a bit.

    Hopefully google will give apple a slap with the pull down notification patent if its granted.
  17. motoleo macrumors 6502a


    Jan 27, 2012
    Oh yeah, that's true- Apple took that from right from Android. Guess I can't argue anymore.
  18. viewfly, Feb 17, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012

    viewfly macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2009
    Yes, some patents grants are out of control. The US patent office grants, makes mistakes, and lets the courts ultimately decide. And some patents seem silly, I agree.

    But the Apple ‘slide to unlock’ may not be one of them.

    It is not that general, but specific, and therefore pretty weak, easy to get around by innovation. It attempts to specifically protect a brand, and prevent others from copying the look of the iPhone. If Apple didn’t do it, one can be assured that Google, Microsoft would have, and the tables turned. But it doesn’t protect the general idea of swipe to unlock.

    In fact the patent’s name is 'Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image'

    As with all patents, the details in the claims are important, not what is written in the abstract, as most news wires focus on.

    The Swiss Neonode N1m, did slide to lock beforehand. However, in Apple’s patent, the reference to this Swiss phone is clearly stated, along with 20 something other references. So the US patent office knew about this, and felt it was not a prior art. A dutch court felt differently, or likely different…such is life. Apple granted patent on slide to unlock, even though it existed 2 years before they invented it

    Here’s the difference. Claim 1 of the Apple patent is the most important. All and everyone of the functions have to be used to be considered a violation. The Neonode uses a swipe motion, but doesn’t have a graphical or unlocked image or text for example. Detail you say? Well that is the basis of every patent. Furthermore, the subclaims further define the iphone look with text, arrows, visual cues:

    1. A method of unlocking a hand-held electronic device, the device including a touch-sensitive display, the method comprising: detecting a contact with the touch-sensitive display at a first predefined location corresponding to an unlock image; continuously moving the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display in accordance with movement of the contact while continuous contact with the touch screen is maintained, wherein the unlock image is a graphical, interactive user-interface object with which a user interacts in order to unlock the device; and unlocking the hand-held electronic device if the moving the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display results in movement of the unlock image from the first predefined location to a predefined unlock region on the touch-sensitive display.

    2. The method of claim 1, wherein the moving comprises movement along any desired path.

    3. The method of claim 1, wherein the moving comprises movement along a predefined channel from the first predefined location to the predefined unlock region.

    4. The method of claim 1, further comprising displaying visual cues to communicate a direction of movement of the unlock image required to unlock the device.

    5. The method of claim 4, wherein the visual cues comprise text.

    6. The method of claim 4, wherein said visual cues comprise an arrow indicating a general direction of movement.

    What all this means to innovators is they can use an unlocking motion or non image, or something else that doesn’t look like a direct copy of an iPhone, no text, no arrows. Hence, face recognition or fingerprint. Or maybe just a circle? Apple is only trying to protect their brand…nothing wrong with that. And apparently a wise move when one sees Samsung and others making a direct copy. Couldn;t those guys come up with even a slight variation? Some support for this argument here in an article: Apple's Slide-To-Unlock Patent Has Some Big Loopholes - CBS News

    In fact, patents can force people to innovate to get around patents. And they protect the hard work that a company puts into making and branding their product. Without that protection, there would be no reason to innovate at all.

    If you think this is bad…look up the patent for that piece of cardboard you place in your window while you are at the beach. Yes, there is one. Made millions of dollars too. Now I think that is silly!
  19. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2005
    There's nothing funnier than reading the opinions of a bunch of uninformed people on a forum on a subject that's seriously complex like this :D

    However, suggesting google/motorola are in the right here - that's about as wrong as you could get. I'm not saying what apple is doing is right, but what google/motorola (and samsung for that matter) are doing is much, much worse.

    Lets take that slide to unlock patent as a first example. Apple implemented it first, or at least they're saying so - whether or not there's "prior art" depends on the exact implementation, the phone that had it before might have done it slightly differently and that might make it a valid patent. Remember that a patent isn't 3 words, it's several pages of technical description which then gets narrowed down in court to a very specific implementation of a specific feature usually. So apple are saying they invented this feature, and motorola shouldn't copy it. If they win (they haven't it's a preliminary ruling - the full court case comes later, but the court thinks apple has a strong case and a valid patent) then motorola has to remove this feature and use some other unlock method.

    That is the whole point of a patent - you invent something new, you get the right to use it as you see fit for a number of years so you get rewarded for your work. You can refuse to let other people use it, or you can license it to them for any fee you think is appropriate. Somebody can't just copy it, sell the product at a lower price because they've not spent any money on R+D and can afford to, and take the prize.

    Next, motorola's 3G patents. Same thing, they spent the R+D money, invented something new, and deserve to get their reward. Except that it's something essential to the 3G phone networks: you can't build a 3G phone without using this patent. There are hundreds of companies with 3G patents, and there are thousands of patents. Nobody would build 3G phones if they couldn't license the patents for a reasonable cost. So the patent owners all agree to FRAND licensing for all 3G patents - Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Descriminatory. They (including samsung and motorola) agreed to license these patents to *anyone*, for a fair price. This means the phone makers can make a phone at a reasonable price without fearing an angry patent holder.

    What motorola are doing though is using these essential patents as a weapon. They're asking for unreasonable fees, which apple can't accept. Then suing apple for infringement. If they win, apple are screwed - they can't make a phone without these patents. They can't work around them. Motorola could get all of apple's phones banned, or charge a huge amount to license them. This is why the EU is investigating samsung, and why they'll probably investigate motorola next.

    And here's why motorola is being so unreasonable:

    - They're asking for 2.25% as a license fee. Remember, hundreds of companies own these patents - if they all charged 2.25% apple might be looking at over 100% licensing fees. This is obviously unreasonably high. (Samsung are demanding 2.4%!)
    - They're not asking for 2.25% of the cost of the 3G chip that implements the patent. They're asking for 2.25% of the retail cost of an iPhone/iPad. A comparison people often make: BMW sell some cars with 3G built in for GPS. Motorola is saying 2.25% of a $100,000 car is reasonable, just for 3G in the GPS. Again, totally unreasonable.
    - They're supposed to license these patents in a non-discriminatory way, yet they're demanding these fees specifically from apple. They've also told Qualcomm (who sell 3G chips for the iPhone 4S, and license motorola's patents) that they're no longer licensed for any chips they sell to apple. Again, clear discrimination against a single company.

    Motorola's problem is that they agreed to FRAND licensing when they signed up for the 3G patents. The governments, EU/US regulators etc are well aware of that. They'll likely get screwed big time over this down the line, but the law in germany is a bit out of line with everywhere else, and is *extremely* patent holder friendly. That's why apple won there recently, and why motorola is pressing ahead with 3G patents there.
  20. kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Latest update in the slide-to-unlock trial saga:

    Apple's case against Samsung in Germany has been stayed pending the outcome of a German Patent Office revocation hearing over Apple's unlock patent.

    The review could invalidate all or part of the patent.

    Although not part of this particular instance, last year a Dutch judge wrote a multiple page opinion on why he thought Apple's unlock patent would likely be invalidated. It paralleled what a lot of us in the industry had said. Basically, he noted that the Neonode N1 phone had used slide-to-unlock back in 2002, and adding a graphical path for newbies was an obvious addition due to the history of previous touchscreen virtual slide switches.

    German judges have likewise noted the Neonode defense.
  21. 0m3ga macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2012
    neonode n1 had a similar slide to unlock, but not on a touch-sensitive display. neonode used ir to determine where a touch input occurred, nor did it display visual cues to inform the user of the slide to unlock path. Neonode can likely only be used for prior art... Maybe.

    by the way, this was Apple's second slide to unlock patent. first was usp 7,657,849 filed in 2005.
  22. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Problem is if you start saying "well that slide to unlock is different" then you have to basically prove its currently identical.

    The biggest difference is the visual cue like you said but in the end if when you ask how do unlock the neonode what will the court say?

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