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Dutch judge says Apple's 'slide to unlock' patent is likely invalid

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
Despite ordering a preliminary injunction against sales of three Samsung smartphones on this week, a Dutch judge dismissed Apples "slide-to-unlock" patent as "not inventive," and therefore likely invalid.

Samsung's Galaxy S II, the Galaxy S and the Galaxy S Ace were found this week in a preliminary ruling to have infringed on a patent related to "flicking" or "bouncing" of photos. But that's just one patent out of the ten patents asserted by Apple against Samsung in the Netherlands trial.

Out of these unsuccessful infringement allegations, one stand-out is U.S. Patent No. 7,657,849, or the "slide-to-unlock" patent. That very same invention happens to be part of other Apple legal disputes with HTC and Motorola.

But the European counterpart of the slide-to-unlock patent has been found to be "obvious (as compared to prior art presented by Samsung) and therefore invalid," according to Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents.

Samsung showed the court a previous European Windows CE handset design, the Neonode N1m, manufactured by a Swedish company in 2005 before Dec. 23, which is date when Apple filed for the slide-to-unlock patent. In light of this evidence. the Dutch judge concluded that Apple's patent claims are "not inventive," as in this case as the Neonode N1m already implemented the entirety of Apples claimed invention, Mueller said.

A minor difference was noted, as Apples slide-to-unlock technology also features an image that moves along with the finger on the screen when performing the sliding gesture, but that "didnt convince the judge that Apple was entitled to a patent."

To further help its cause, Samsung provided more evidence revealing other user interfaces, mentioned or released before 2005, which rely on sliders that are to be moved "along a pre-defined path to a particular position in order to have the effect of an on/off switch (as in the slide-to-unlock case)."



"The slide-to-unlock patent appears to be coming out on the losing end, at least in the Netherlands, and for good reasons in my opinion," Mueller added. Both Apple and Samsung will have a chance to overturn some of this week's rulings in a main proceeding in the near future.

Apple has obtained two more favorable preliminary decisions so far against Samsung in Australia as well as Germany, where a court on Thursday upheld an injunction barring sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. A ruling has been scheduled for Sept. 9.

Both Apple and Samsung are counter-suing each other on similar patent infringement and copyright claims in various international markets. Apple has accused Samsung of copying the look and feel of its popular iPhone and iPad products, and violating its patents in the process.
post #2 of 80
It would've been more helpful to post a pic of the Neonode or a video, like this video.

@2:45 she runs through the gestures and demonstrates them shortly after.
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post #3 of 80
Ah yes, the Dutch can become the new Switzerland of the Embedded World whereas Australia, Germany and others will uphold Apple's patents.
post #4 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

..."slide-to-unlock" patent as "not inventive,"...

Because of all the other touchscreen phones that used slide-to-unlock before the iPhone came out.

Originally posted by Marvin

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post #5 of 80
Innovation... something everyone should copy...
post #6 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

It would've been more helpful to post a pic of the Neonode or a video, like this video.

@2:45 she runs through the gestures and demonstrates them shortly after.

And as I suspected when I first heard this news yesterday ... it's not the same thing at all.

This is basically just the same thing that was on the Palm where one long stroke on the screen does one thing or brings up a menu. Absolutely not the same thing at all. No unlocking going on, different UI (actually no UI at all).

I'm starting to think that the main thing wrong with patent law is simply that at some point one single person (a judge or a patent clerk) has to decide for the entire human race about something like this.
post #7 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I'm starting to think that the main thing wrong with patent law is simply that at some point one single person (a judge or a patent clerk) has to decide for the entire human race about something like this.

Are you insinuating that the judge might be a closet Fandroid?!
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post #8 of 80
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post #9 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

And as I suspected when I first heard this news yesterday ... it's not the same thing at all.

This is basically just the same thing that was on the Palm where one long stroke on the screen does one thing or brings up a menu. Absolutely not the same thing at all. No unlocking going on, different UI (actually no UI at all).

I'm starting to think that the main thing wrong with patent law is simply that at some point one single person (a judge or a patent clerk) has to decide for the entire human race about something like this.

Let me guess, the AI consensus will be that the judge made the right decision on the patent that Samsung does infringe, but he's also inept for his decision on this one?
"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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post #10 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post


Wohoa, hold on a minute!! Even lock manufacturers are now copying Apple?!!
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post #11 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Are you insinuating that the judge might be a closet Fandroid?!

No. More like "intelligent people can come to different conclusions." Things like this shouldn't be decided by one person IMO. It's not a 100% objective task. It may be obvious to him, but completely not obvious to someone else.

Judges also don't necessarily know anything about design. Someone in this thread is posting the picture of the sliding latch for instance, the existence of which is completely irrelevant in terms of a multi-touch lock that emulates same. It doesn't mean they are dumb, or even wrong in their own minds, it just shows that they don't know anything about design and probably shouldn't be deciding something with such far reaching implications.
post #12 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

No. More like "intelligent people can come to different conclusions." Things like this shouldn't be decided by one person IMO. It's not a 100% objective task. It may be obvious to him, but completely not obvious to someone else.

Judges also don't necessarily know anything about design. Someone in this thread is posting the picture of the sliding latch for instance, the existence of which is completely irrelevant in terms of a multi-touch lock that emulates same. It doesn't mean they are dumb, or even wrong in their own minds, it just shows that they don't know anything about design and probably shouldn't be deciding something with such far reaching implications.

In terms of the Patents, correct, the latch has nothing to do with it, I would guess. Just pointing out similarities between the two.

Phone "Slide to unlock" screen lets you see who's calling before you answer.
Door "Slide to unlock" chain mechanism lets you see who's at the door before you let them in.
Both are multi-touch.

But yes, in terms of a patent, they have nothing to do with each other.
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post #13 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

It would've been more helpful to post a pic of the Neonode or a video, like this video.

@2:45 she runs through the gestures and demonstrates them shortly after.

Can you believe the neonode also had apps?
and that they are presented in an array, like the iPhone and iPad?

Again, what did Apple invent?
post #14 of 80
I'm just catching up on this, but seriously. All this on the slide to unlock thing?

You gotta be kidding me. Well so much for apple controlling the tablet market well into 2013.
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post #15 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Groovetube View Post

I'm just catching up on this, but seriously. All this on the slide to unlock thing?...

Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but the reason this makes me so mad is that even though it's a bit trivial, it's one of the truly original things about the iPhone and multi-touch when it came out.

If Apple can't get protection for stuff like this then there doesn't seem to be much point to patents at all. You might as well just take the China attitude of letting anyone copy anyone else whenever they want.

Whatever you hear to the contrary, the fact is that multi-touch was a truly original breakthrough as was it's application to the iPhone UI and almost everything about it. Apple dutifully recorded everything they were doing and patented it to the hilt.

If all of that end up meaning nothing at all, then truly ... what is the point?

The world would be in a horrible place if not for the creatives and the geniuses that invent things like this. It's the core of what makes us different from the other animals. Yet capitalism and the legal system treats creatives like so much cannon fodder for the most part.

I think it's just sad.
post #16 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Despite ordering a preliminary injunction against sales of three Samsung smartphones on this week, a Dutch judge dismissed Apples "slide-to-unlock" patent as "not inventive," and therefore likely invalid.

Despite its army of lawyers and despite its litigious tendencies, it looks like Apple is losing big time. Innovatioins need patent protection. But copies of prior art, and obvious inventions need to be bounced before they can be used to stifle innovations by others.

The patent system needs a HUGE overhaul when crap can receive a patent, and then those invalid patents can be used to hurt others.
post #17 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post

Let me guess, the AI consensus will be that the judge made the right decision on the patent that Samsung does infringe, but he's also inept for his decision on this one?

That is entirely consistent with the viewpoint that Apple is right to sue others because it needs to protect its IP, but when others sue Apple, it is said that "those that can, innovate, and those that cannot, sue".
post #18 of 80
1) Please, swipe-to-unlock was a clever digital representation of a human action we do all the time, but it was hardly revolutionary. Handing over a patent is way too aggressive and is the kind of thing that hinders innovation, rather than protect it.

2) When Apple ripped off Konfabulator years ago when it introduced widgets, all the fanboys reached back into the OS and tried to argue that it was Apple that had widgets in the first place, which was total BS when you look at the visual appearance and execution of what Konfabulator did. In fact, Apple steals concepts from its developers all the time. Now, with the show on the other foot, it's somehow outrageous to compare swipe to unlock to Neonode, which is almost exactly the same kind of comparison as in the Konfabulator widgets thing.

Let's dial down the fanboy worship and realize that Apple is a massive corporation with its own interests at heart. We need robust policing to keep it in line, like any other.
post #19 of 80
If the USPTO is going to issue a patent, then there should be legal enforcement of that patent. If the patent is not valid, then the USPTO should not have issued the patent. If courts can simply overturn patents based on a judges opinion, then the entire patent system is useless.
post #20 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post

Despite its army of lawyers and despite its litigious tendencies, it looks like Apple is losing big time. Innovatioins need patent protection. But copies of prior art, and obvious inventions need to be bounced before they can be used to stifle innovations by others.

The patent system needs a HUGE overhaul when crap can receive a patent, and then those invalid patents can be used to hurt others.

Wow, that sounds just like the speech the Google execs gave.

Did it take you long to learn it?
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post #21 of 80
the judge's point is that it's "not inventive"

if apple, or samsung, or google, patented using an anticlockwise loop with an umlaut on the top and a blob in the middle, that'd at least have an element of invention, although one of little merit

but should it really be possible to patent a gesture? - that means i can patent a silly walk (obviously not one that monty python is prior art for), or a certain wave of the hand, and sue people who copy it, but of course that's insane

should it be possible to patent tracing the word "open" on a touch screen, of course not, you couldn't patent typing that word on a keyboard, why should it become possible simply because it's a different interface, it's crazy to allow such nonsense patents

the art is in detecting the gesture, not in the gesture itself, patenting the first is right and proper, but leave the gestures out of it

example: imagine i create an interface that uses a visible scanning laser to project the image of a lock onto a vertical plane of water vapour, and a non-visible scanning laser to monitor object position relative to that projected image, and then i do some processing to interpret a swiping finger movement as the trigger to unlock my beer

there's no way i could expect to patent that swiping motion, it's obvious, it's intuitive, and even though i created the first system to do it this way, that gesture is clearly not inventive

what i can patent is the clever stuff that was working out that it was a finger doing the swiping, and not a stray bumblebee
post #22 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdws View Post

1)

Let's dial down the fanboy worship and realize that Apple is a massive corporation with its own interests at heart. We need robust policing to keep it in line, like any other.



Apple is a giant transnational corporation which cares about only one thing: maximizing total profits.

They do so in many ways, including making great products, but also by wrangling bullshit patents and using them to hurt innocent competitors.
post #23 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post

...bullshit patents...

The patents are real, they have been granted.
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post #24 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

The patents are real, they have been granted.

That the patents are real and have been granted is objective reality.

Whether they should have been granted is the point in contention. If not, they are invalid, and therefore, in my parlance, bullshit.

I hope that clarifies what I meant.
post #25 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdws View Post

1) Please, swipe-to-unlock was a clever digital representation of a human action we do all the time, but it was hardly revolutionary. Handing over a patent is way too aggressive and is the kind of thing that hinders innovation, rather than protect it.

2) When Apple ripped off Konfabulator years ago when it introduced widgets, all the fanboys reached back into the OS and tried to argue that it was Apple that had widgets in the first place, which was total BS when you look at the visual appearance and execution of what Konfabulator did. In fact, Apple steals concepts from its developers all the time. Now, with the show on the other foot, it's somehow outrageous to compare swipe to unlock to Neonode, which is almost exactly the same kind of comparison as in the Konfabulator widgets thing.

Let's dial down the fanboy worship and realize that Apple is a massive corporation with its own interests at heart. We need robust policing to keep it in line, like any other.

Cite all the locks you swipe to unlock in your home, your car, or any other apparatus you own.
post #26 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Cite all the locks you swipe to unlock in your home, your car, or any other apparatus you own.

The two slide locks on my storage building?

EDIT: Forgot the one drop down door in the utility room. It has a slide lock too.
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post #27 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

The patents are real, they have been granted.

thats the fun thing about patents, it doesnt matter, if they are invalid.

It just requires a bit of legal entertainment.
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post #28 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post

Apple is a giant transnational corporation which cares about only one thing: maximizing total profits.

They do so in many ways, including making great products, but also by wrangling bullshit patents and using them to hurt innocent competitors.

Never got your interview with the Mother Ship, eh?

Apple is so visible that it pushes the industry in industrial design [the photocopying is at an all-time high] to Green compliance, to recycling other old waste, to redefining the retail space from a giant eye sore of overkill down to a clean, minimalist style, to the ways they run their internal operations, etc.

Two of the coolest places and most electric places to work and learn are Apple and PIXAR. That's all due to Steve and the mind share he developed and cultivated in both environments. The third one being NeXT.

Nothing in the IT industry surpasses them and not one place is remotely as diverse, engaging and an absolute refreshing place to work and/or visit than the companies Steve developed.

Hell, even Disney is in a renaissance due to the PIXAR merger and the talent it brought to revitalize Disney--once considered the coolest place on the planet to work.
post #29 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

The two slide locks on my storage building?

EDIT: Forgot the one drop down door in the utility room. It has a slide lock too.

You slide the storage door with your index finger?
post #30 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

You slide the storage door with your index finger?

Yup. I slide the bar to the left to unlock the clasp and to the right to lock it. Works with one finger quite well.

EDIT: Just thought of the warehouse doors at work. They lock/unlock with slide locks too. A larger version of simple garage door locks. Takes more than a single finger tho.
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post #31 of 80
A software patent should only be valid if it's not one simple idea or concept, like this one or double click. This is an idea, and ideas should never be patentable. They didn't have to research for years to come up "slide to unlock".
I do understand codecs like H264, which cost years to develop, are patented, that makes sense. But not trivial stuff like double clicks, one-click-to-purchase-stuff and so forth.
post #32 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

(Insult deleted)

Apple is so visible that it pushes the industry in industrial design [the photocopying is at an all-time high] to Green compliance, to recycling other old waste, to redefining the retail space from a giant eye sore of overkill down to a clean, minimalist style, to the ways they run their internal operations, etc.

Two of the coolest places and most electric places to work and learn are Apple and PIXAR. That's all due to Steve and the mind share he developed and cultivated in both environments. The third one being NeXT.

Nothing in the IT industry surpasses them and not one place is remotely as diverse, engaging and an absolute refreshing place to work and/or visit than the companies Steve developed.

Hell, even Disney is in a renaissance due to the PIXAR merger and the talent it brought to revitalize Disney--once considered the coolest place on the planet to work.

That all may be true, but what does it have to do with what I said, which was:

"Apple is a giant transnational corporation which cares about only one thing: maximizing total profits.

They do so in many ways, including making great products, but also by wrangling bullshit patents and using them to hurt innocent competitors."
post #33 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by dacloo View Post

This is an idea, and ideas should never be patentable.

Idea: A substance to which stuff can't stick...

WHOOPS, THERE GOES TEFLON.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #34 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Because of all the other touchscreen phones that used slide-to-unlock before the iPhone came out.

If you know better (as you generally seem to), there is a shortage of judges in many jurisdictions. All you'd need to do is study law for 7 years or so, do a clerkship, pass some more exams, practise law for 20 years or so, then get appointed (or elected).

At that point your legal opinion will be valid.

Until then, why don't we go with the guy who knows what he is talking about eh?
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post #35 of 80
It's funny isn't it? Any patent troll that sues Apple, and we have endless posts about how crap the patent system is, how people/companies are being handed out bullshit patents left right and centre, and how the whole system needs a major overhaul.

Oh, but if someone suggests that Apple has been awarded a patent when they shouldn't have been, because the idea is obvious, we have the opposite outcry. Post after post about how "innovative" a slide-to-unlock gesture is.

Sorry, can't have it both ways. It is utterly ludicrous that Apple was awarded a patent for the slide to unlock gesture. It's pretty obvious and not very clever - Android's gesture unlock is more innovative but I'm not sure even that warrants a patent.
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post #36 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Idea: A substance to which stuff can't stick...

WHOOPS, THERE GOES TEFLON.


Yep...and all kinds of slippery shiny surfaces that stuff doesn't stick too....
Or I have an idea to patent a power button on a phone.....wait those existed before the iPhone buuuut the iPhone just made them cool right.....Apple should sue......everyone.......wait...they already are...maybe they can just append those suits.

Tallest Skil:


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"The future is Apple, Google, and a third company that hasn't yet been created."


 


 

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Tallest Skil:


"Eventually Google will have their Afghanistan with Oracle and collapse"

"The future is Apple, Google, and a third company that hasn't yet been created."


 


 

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post #37 of 80
A few years from now (or sooner) Apple will launch an HDTV with innovative, patented features never seen before in a television even though competitors have had over 60 years to improve upon the TV. Shortly thereafter Samsung will copy all of these new features into their line of TV sets. And shortly after that many people will scream in this forum that those features were obvious and that Apple is evil for protecting their ideas. Let it be written. Let it be done.

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post #38 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by ameldrum1 View Post

Until then, why don't we go with the guy who knows what he is talking about eh?

So you'll listen and obey to what one guy says that applies to every person on the planet, eh?

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #39 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but the reason this makes me so mad is that even though it's a bit trivial, it's one of the truly original things about the iPhone and multi-touch when it came out.

If Apple can't get protection for stuff like this then there doesn't seem to be much point to patents at all. You might as well just take the China attitude of letting anyone copy anyone else whenever they want.

Whatever you hear to the contrary, the fact is that multi-touch was a truly original breakthrough as was it's application to the iPhone UI and almost everything about it. Apple dutifully recorded everything they were doing and patented it to the hilt.

If all of that end up meaning nothing at all, then truly ... what is the point?

The world would be in a horrible place if not for the creatives and the geniuses that invent things like this. It's the core of what makes us different from the other animals. Yet capitalism and the legal system treats creatives like so much cannon fodder for the most part.

I think it's just sad.

So the judge will end up supporting part of Apple's patents, but not all of them...so it is sad. Sorry dude, but once this goes to court it is up to the judge. No use in complaining that Apple won't win 100% of the time.

I would rather see no software patents on this kind of stuff anyway. Instead, leave it up to the companies to build the best product. I have used iPhones, Android Phones and Windows Phones. The slide to open idea works well on the iPhone and well on the Windows Phone (in a different manner). On so many of the Android phones it stutters.

If I had to make a decision to buy a phone JUST on that one concern I would be forced to choose between the iPhone and the Windows Phone.

Apple's iOS is simply better than the Android OS (IMHO) and many people who choose (versus buying what the carrier drones push at them) a phone also agree.

Of course, people call "FOUL FOUL FOUL" at Android, but have you seen iOS 5. It's notification system has the "Look and Feel" of Android. So why is that okay? Because Apple did it and not Google?
post #40 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

The patents are real, they have been granted.

And how many times have Apple fanboys scream bloody murder when patent trolls are granted patents. Those are "real" and "they have been granted".
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