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

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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:
    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.

    Article Link: Apple Wins German Injunction Against Motorola Over "Swipe to Unlock" Patents
  2. super tomtendo macrumors 6502a

    super tomtendo

    Aug 29, 2009
  3. jlgolson Contributing Editor


    Jun 2, 2011
    Durango, CO
    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.
  4. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    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.
  5. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

    Nov 8, 2008
    Florida, U.S.A.
    Hooray...! So they won... now what's next?
    Will Apple go after HTC and others who infringe this patent?

    As much as I see this like intellectual property, it's all kind of getting overboard, and not just involving Apple.
    I have mixed feelings about this patent feud as a whole; it may get to a point where it will get as ridiculous as patenting swiping with the middle finger over the index finger.
    Even the rectangular shape of a phone may be patented already.
    Everyone is suing everyone else. There's a new lawsuit almost every day.

    Some about obvious 'copycat' issues, others over the use of technological standards that should not be a patent issue.

    Will this ever end??? :mad:
  6. ChazUK macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2008
    Essex (UK)
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows Phone OS 7.5; Trident/5.0; IEMobile/9.0; HTC; TITAN X310e))

    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.
  7. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    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.
  8. tempusfugit macrumors 65816

    May 21, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A405)

    Hello moto
  9. ucmj22 macrumors member

    May 27, 2011

    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...
  10. pubwvj macrumors 68000


    Oct 1, 2004
    Mountains of Vermont
    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.
  11. austinmcguire macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2006
    Go ahead, get that injunction on iCloud, I dare you...

    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:
  12. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    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.
  13. SockRolid macrumors 68000


    Jan 5, 2010
    Almost Rock Solid
    Pretty sure that Apple can afford to sprinkle a few mil here or there for the occasional bond.


    Freetard. :)
  14. kdarling, Feb 17, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012

    kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 46 years ago
    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 :)

    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.
  15. the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    Actually no. You are using a swiping motion to slide the button across the screen to unlock. So to slide to unlock you have to swipe.

    Subtle differences but the differences are there.
    I am just pointing this out so everyone knows. And when these kind of things end up in court the little details like this matter heaps.
  16. adder7712 macrumors 68000


    Mar 9, 2009
    Or swipe screen off to unlock (TouchWiz). ;)
  17. KingJosh macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2012
    Does anyone else find it funny that you never see Oletros post on Apple winnning court case threads :p
  18. inscrewtable macrumors 68000


    Oct 9, 2010
    I have never used Time Machine, but when I first saw the control panel I was most captured by the sliding on off button and although I never used TM, I played with the sliding button for a while because there was something about it that is very satisfying as an interface device.

    It didn't have a swipe gesture to operate it, but even so, it was very engaging and fostered a more connected feel to the hardware using a clever, almost tactile software button. Furthermore a sliding button is more conducive to integrating with faux clicking sounds or other faux momentum or magnetic effects.

    Now that it has been combined with a swiping gesture on touch devices, the lock and gesture go together like Laurel and Hardy or Brahe and Kepler. At any rate it's a concept well worth protecting and the fact that it seems to some like it's not a big deal just shows how smoothly it integrates into the human psyche.

    In the distant future when everyone has their own solution to software buttons, Apple will reinvent the hardware on/off switch and patent that.
  19. futuretaco macrumors newbie


    Feb 19, 2012
  20. kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 46 years ago
    The reason it's not seen as a big deal by many, was well explained by what the Dutch judge said about it:

    1) The Neonode touch phone used a horizontal swipe-to-unlock in 2002.

    2) For at least 25 years (and I personally know of this, having done it myself in the early '80s) before the iPhone came out, displaying a virtual slide-switch onscreen was popular with industrial control displays.

    Therefore, the judge reasoned, combining them was not an unobvious thing to do if a developer was asked to display a specific unlock path with feedback.
  21. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I'm not sure why a patent was granted on the gesture as opposed to the method of achieving such a result. They require code and hardware testing to implement such a thing without bugs, yet the concept itself is incredibly mundane. A sliding mechanism has been used in many forms of physical locks again and again. It seems trivial, yet the back end R&D needed to put this on a phone may be much less trivial. I don't see these guys stealing code from Apple. Rather they used the concept with their own implementation. Some of Apple's patents just tie up court systems. The design patents and stuff like that were just to build up a fuzzy invisible wall around every aspect of its design. I hate seeing court systems tied up by that sort of thing, much like I hate seeing patent trolls haunt Apple.

    Logic would dictate that an injunction should be there to one product damaging another by its market presence while court proceedings are underway. I'm not sure if we're just hearing about them more these days, or if they're simply becoming more common. It's silly either way.
  22. vrDrew, Feb 19, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012

    vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    Apple's US Patent Application specifically cites the Neonode phone among its references. The Patent Office examiners presumably took a look at Neonode's method and determined that there was a) sufficient difference between Apple's implementation and b) that the difference was "non-obvious".

    In other words, unlike the Neonode, the user needed to get visual or other feedback to let him know that the phone was being unlocked. And that the physical cues presented needed to let the (presumably unschooled or unfamiliar) user know how to unlock the bloody thing.

    If you look at the Neonode unlock screen you are presented with the icon of a lock. How do you open it? Touch it? Tap it? Shake it? Look for another screen icon of a key? The Neonode gives you no clue of the gesture or motion required. All it tells you is that it is locked.

    Small things matter.

Share This Page