Apple wins German injunction against Motorola over 'slide-to-unlock'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


A ruling handed down by the Munich I Regional Court on Thursday found that a number of Motorola products had infringed on Apple's slide-to-unlock patent, resulting in a permanent injunction against any offending devices.



Judge Dr. Peter Guntz deemed that Motorola's implementation of a screen unlocking feature used across its smartphone line is a copycat that infringes on Apple's slide-to-unlock patent image, which gives the iPhone maker the option to enforce a German injunction against a bond, reports FOSS Patent's Florian Mueller.



Apple's European patent, EP1964022, was awarded in October 2010 and is titled "Unlocking a Device by Performing Gestures on an Unlock Image." The company was also granted an identical patent a year later by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.



The German court looked at three different Motorola implementations of gesture-based device unlocking and found that two infringed on Apple's patent, namely those used by the RAZR maker's Android smartphones.



The third example, used by Motorola's in its Xoom tablet, showed enough of a difference from Apple's patent to escape injunction. That particular implementation is similar to that of the Galaxy Note, Mueller says, and requires a user to swipe their finger from inside a circle to outside.



Apple's first win against Motorola could result in a complete reworking of how Motorola devices handle screen unlocking, though it seems that the judgment would only force a firmware modification and not the ban of device sales.



Mueller describes the outcome as possibly creating a "noticeable degradation of the user experience of Motorola's products," as the company will have to extend the "slide-to-unlock circle" found in the Xoom across its entire product line.



Should Apple choose to enforce the injunction, it would have to put up a mandatory bond that would cover damages and legal fees for incurred by Motorola if a future appeal finds that the original ruling was incorrect.





Motorola Xoom screen unlock implementation. | Source: ZDNet







Today's decision is a blow not only to Motorola Mobility, but to Android handset makers in general as Apple can bring similar claims to companies using the Google OS in Germany. For instance, the Cupertino, Calif., company is currently in the midst of asserting the same slide-to-unlock patent against Samsung in Mannheim.



Previously, Motorola was on a winning streak in the fast-acting German court system, with favorable judgments in a GPRS standard patent case as well as one related to push services, however it seems that the tide may be turning.



Apple's win follows an earlier outcome in February in which the Mannheim Regional Court dismissed a proposed 3G-relatedMotorola suit.



There will likely be an appeal to today's court ruling, however no official word has been given as to when that proceeding will take place.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,379member
    A smashing close to an already exciting day.
  • hill60hill60 Posts: 6,960member
    I wonder when we'll see the Neonode again, the one which leaves out the "on an unlock image" part of Apple's "unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image" patent.
  • daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    ...for now.



    Though it wouldn't be the least bit surprising to see many of these extremely general/generic patents found invalid in the very near future.



    We'll See...
  • majjomajjo Posts: 574member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post




    The third example, used by Motorola's in its Xoom tablet, showed enough of a difference from Apple's patent to escape injunction. That particular implementation is similar to that of the Galaxy Note, Mueller says, and requires a user to swipe their finger from inside a circle to outside.



    This, to me, is the important part here. The unlock method on the Xoom is the standard method in both honeycomb and ice cream sandwich, so it looks like going forward, android will not be affected at all.



    It would be ironic if the effect of this case would be to push other android manufacturers to upgrade to ice cream sandwich.



    Quote:

    Mueller describes the outcome as possibly creating a "noticeable degradation of the user experience of Motorola's products," as the company will have to extend the "slide-to-unlock circle" found in the Xoom across its entire product line.



    I don't see how that's a degradation as that method works better than the one found in 2.3 and earlier version of android
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,379member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


    Though it wouldn't be the least bit surprising to see many of these extremely general/generic patents found invalid in the very near future.



    Ah, you're talking about Motorola's patents, obviously.
  • daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Ah, you're talking about Motorola's patents, obviously.



    All of the above... 'obviously'.



    ... as in, any company behaving like 'patent trolls' with claims to things that should never have been patented in the first place.
  • andre402andre402 Posts: 18member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


    ... as in, any company behaving like 'patent trolls' with claims to things that should never have been patented in the first place.



    From Wikipedia:

    Quote:

    Patent troll is a pejorative term used for a person or company who buys and enforces patents against one or more alleged infringers in a manner considered by the target or observers as unduly aggressive or opportunistic, often with no intention to further develop, manufacture or market the patented invention.



    And why do you think that the slide to unlock implementation that Apple uses, should be freely copied and without patent protection?
  • neo42neo42 Posts: 287member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by andre402 View Post


    From Wikipedia:





    And why do you think that the slide to unlock implementation that Apple uses, should be freely copied and without patent protection?



    Because it's synonymous with turning a door knob? Do you think that "turning a knob to open a door" should be patented?
  • daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by majjo View Post


    This, to me, is the important part here. The unlock method on the Xoom is the standard method in both honeycomb and ice cream sandwich, so it looks like going forward, android will not be affected at all.



    It would be ironic if the effect of this case would be to push other android manufacturers to upgrade to ice cream sandwich.



    I don't see how that's a degradation as that method works better than the one found in 2.3 and earlier version of android



    Absolutely!



    - The 'circular unlock' feature on the Xoom, current HTC Sense and ICS devices is not only imune to these claims, but also vastly superior in function to other generic 'slide to unlock' designs... especially as user selectable apps can be added to the circle for quick access.







    Anyway...This whole 'slide-to-unlock' along a designated path has become a bit old/tired i.e circa 2007, with Google already having come up with something far more innovative that's pretty much ready for implementation.



  • f1ferrarif1ferrari Posts: 223member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


    All of the above... 'obviously'.



    ... as in, any company behaving like 'patent trolls' with claims to things that should never have been patented in the first place.



    'Obvious' only because it's been around on Apple devices for 5 years? Intermittent wipers are obvious now, but I'm sure to Robert Kearns in 1963, it was novel and innovative.
  • prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A ruling handed down by the Munich I Regional Court on Thursday found that a number of Motorola products had infringed on Apple's slide-to-unlock patent, resulting in a permanent injunction against any offending devices. ...



    The thing I don't understand is why the Xoom unlock is excluded.



    If you read the tech press, most assume this exclusion is due to the "predetermined path" qualifier in the patent, but if you read the patent this qualifier actually doesn't exist. I've read the thing twice now and it would seem that if it's valid at all, the Xoom method with the circle is pretty much *exactly* the kind of unlock method the patent refers to.



    I've yet to read anything that justifies the exclusion of the Xoom circle opening thingie given that the other methods are supposedly clear violations.
  • hill60hill60 Posts: 6,960member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by majjo View Post


    This, to me, is the important part here. The unlock method on the Xoom is the standard method in both honeycomb and ice cream sandwich, so it looks like going forward, android will not be affected at all.



    It would be ironic if the effect of this case would be to push other android manufacturers to upgrade to ice cream sandwich.







    I don't see how that's a degradation as that method works better than the one found in 2.3 and earlier version of android



    The Galaxy Nexus, Android uses a copy of Apple's patent, with a very similar slide over a padlock image.



    There don't seem to be any ICS based tablets yet, perhaps all the manufacturers are waiting on the iPad 3 for their "innovative" inspiration.
  • prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post


    Because it's synonymous with turning a door knob? Do you think that "turning a knob to open a door" should be patented?



    There weren't always doorknobs.



    When the doorknob was first invented, it was indeed an innovation and if the patent system was around at that time, it likely would have been granted a patent and the inventor would have been wildly rich in his or her day and famous ever after, instead of lost to history as is now the case.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post




    There don't seem to be any ICS based tablets yet, perhaps all the manufacturers are waiting on the iPad 3 for their "innovative" inspiration.



    You mean their "let's come out with an identical copy in two weeks' time" inspiration!
  • SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 24,655member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post


    Because it's synonymous with turning a door knob? Do you think that "turning a knob to open a door" should be patented?



    Of course it's nothing like turning a door knob. How many door knobs (virtual or otherwise) were on cell phones before the iPhone?
  • mac.worldmac.world Posts: 340member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post


    Because it's synonymous with turning a door knob? Do you think that "turning a knob to open a door" should be patented?



    Wasn't synonymous with anything UNTIL Apple invented it. Then, and only then, did people relate "Slide to Unlock" with unlocking a phone and it became the standard, as the most popular phone sold is the iphone.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    There weren't always doorknobs.



    When the doorknob was first invented, it was indeed an innovation and if the patent system was around at that time, it likely would have been granted a patent and the inventor would have been wildly rich in his or her day and famous ever after, instead of lost to history as is now the case.



    Ummm......the patent system WAS around at that time. It indeed WAS granted a patent. And the inventor became neither rich nor famous.



    "The first documented invention of the doorknob appears in U.S. Patent entries for the year 1878 when a patent for improvements on a door-closing device was issued to a man named Osbourn Dorsey"



    http://www.catalogs.com/info/home-de...-doorknob.html





    But what does the word "doorknob" really mean?
  • hill60hill60 Posts: 6,960member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    You mean their "let's come out with an identical copy in two weeks' time" inspiration!



    I see you're using the Android dictionary and thesaurus as a reference.
  • repentantfanrepentantfan Posts: 9member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    There weren't always doorknobs.



    When the doorknob was first invented, it was indeed an innovation and if the patent system was around at that time, it likely would have been granted a patent and the inventor would have been wildly rich in his or her day and famous ever after, instead of lost to history as is now the case.



    See this is what confuses Android idiots. They want to believe Apple patented an action, such as "turning a knob to open a door". Apple uniquely created a mechanism, like the door knob is a mechanism.



    As submission #18 shows that there was a patent "for improvements on a door-closing device". But it seems door knobs existed even back into the 18th century. It is likely that the door knob was invented before 1790, when the first U.S. patent was issued. I would guess it would be likely that had the patent office existed then, a door knob patent would have been granted, considering a patent was granted for an improvement.



    My main point, though, is that Android supporters are so blindly by their bias that, to them, Apple does not innovate. Even though it took 2 years (?) for even Google to respond with what is essentially a copy. Yeah, not in every detail, but one has to be an idiot to deny that Android is significantly influenced by and similar to the iPhone OS aka iOS.
  • screamingfistscreamingfist Posts: 971member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    The Galaxy Nexus, Android uses a copy of Apple's patent, with a very similar slide over a padlock image.



    There don't seem to be any ICS based tablets yet, perhaps all the manufacturers are waiting on the iPad 3 for their "innovative" inspiration.



    nothing like apple's. apple is a 'slide' to unlock and actually represents a virtual slider using a gesture.

    the galaxy has no such 'slider'. you push a circle around and select what you want to do, lock, unlock, use camera, etc.



    but for prior versions of Android (2.x and 1.x) the slide to unlock looks almost just like apples so i am not surprised they lost. dumb to not have changed sooner.
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