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Apple awarded patent for touchscreen slide-to-unlock gesture

post #1 of 192
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Apple's arsenal of patents potentially became stronger this week, when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded the company another patent related to unlock gestures on a touchscreen device.

U.S. Patent No. 8,406,721, entitled "Unlocking a Device by Performing Gestures on an Unlock Image," was awarded by the USPTO this week. First filed in an application in 2009, the invention includes Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iOS software, as one of its inventors.

A report from the BBC on Wednesday said the patent "would appear" to cover a number of devices that compete with Apple's iPhone and iPad, including touchscreen products developed by Google and Microsoft. But an intellectual property solicitor in London told the news organization that it's unknown whether the patent win will help Apple in its legal pursuit against devices running Android.

"Often you have situations where patents are argued through long and hard to get to registration, but when they are challenged there is a counter action to claim that the patent shouldn't have been granted," Silas Brown, of the law firm Briffa, reportedly said.

One example of this is in Apple existing patent infringement action against Samsung. In August, a Dutch judge said that a previously granted patent, also related to Apple's slide-to-unlock gesture, was likely invalid.



U.S. Patent No. 7,657,849 was awarded to Apple in February of 2010, and it is even listed as a related U.S. patent document in the new gesture patent awarded by the USPTO this week. A Dutch judge said he felt the '849 patent, awarded in 2010, was "not inventive," and therefore likely invalid.

The patent awarded this week describes a touchscreen device where certain gestures performed on the display can unlock it and allow users to use it.

"The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device," the filing reads. "The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predetermined 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 touchscreen."

Software cannot be patented in Europe, but Brown told the BBC that Apple could potentially still utilize the newly approved patent if the company could demonstrate that the slide-to-unlock gesture materially improves the performance of the hardware, such as giving it added security.

Apple has recently been engaged in patent infringement suits against device makers who create smartphones running the Google Android operating system. Its legal pursuits have found some success against rivals HTC and Samsung, and have even resulted in some Android-based Samsung products being barred from sale in Germany and Australia.
post #2 of 192
And the patent wars continues. Samsung's gonna be ready if Apple decides to enter the TV market.
post #3 of 192
Old news, but sure to bring many clicks.

So, there you go:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-KS...layer_embedded
post #4 of 192
I hate software patents.
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post #5 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by linkgx1 View Post

And the patent wars continues. Samsung's gonna be ready if Apple decides to enter the TV market.

Very good point..hadn't thought about that. But it will would only work if they have patents for either the basic functions or infinite details....shapes etc.....

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post #6 of 192
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post #7 of 192
post #8 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Old indeed: it was dismissed in the Dutch courts months ago:

Aug 24, 2011
Dutch judge considers Apple's slide-to-unlock patent trivial and likely invalid
http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011...-slide-to.html

It'll be interesting to see if it survives in the States.

The fact that the patent was granted will change everything and the judge was rather widely criticised for her decision in that case.

The "prior art" of the N1M is clearly nothing like the slide to unlock that Apple uses for instance. In fact it is itself a rip-off of the Palm "top to bottom" gesture, which is itself a rip-off of the Newton gestures.
post #9 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


I love doorOS.
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post #10 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


Lol, that's a good one.
post #11 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Old news, but sure to bring many clicks.

So, there you go:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-KS...layer_embedded

Well too bad that company did not patent this because Apple did it first and was granted that patent for a reason. They applied first.
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post #12 of 192
Anyone who's thinking of posting criticism of this patent should first remember where they first experienced slide to unlock on a touch screen. It was probably on an Apple device.
post #13 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


People who post this image (and there seems to be a lot unless it's always you), simply don't understand anything at all about invention, design, patents or much of anything else.

The existence of cart wheels from the 18th century for instance, has no bearing on whether Ford should get a patent on their newest belted radial tires for example, and even less relevance to whether someone can write a computer game using wagon wheels as design elements. This is 100% irrelevant.
post #14 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I hate software patents.

Same here. Of course, we have to be very spefific. You don't want what happned in the gaming industry in the '80s (the crash) to happen if you have like 40 versions of pacman....NOT from Namco.
post #15 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

Very good point..hadn't thought about that. But it will would only work if they have patents for either the basic functions or infinite details....shapes etc.....

Yeah, like turning the TV. I swear I'm gonna lose it if Samsung wins some stupid crap like a power button!

Ah, if only Zenith was a patent troll....
post #16 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


Apparently this kind of lock doesn't keep the trolls out.

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post #17 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by linkgx1 View Post

Same here. Of course, we have to be very spefific. You don't want what happned in the gaming industry in the '80s (the crash) to happen if you have like 40 versions of pacman....NOT from Namco.

That was copyright and trademark infringement, not patent infringement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic_Al View Post

Anyone who's thinking of posting criticism of this patent should first remember where they first experienced slide to unlock on a touch screen. It was probably on an Apple device.

There's plenty of room for perfectly legitimate criticism for saying that this is (and most, if not all, software patents in general are) too obvious to be patentable, or that they should fall under the purview of copyright law, not patent law.

That Apple originated this idea is completely beside the point.
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post #18 of 192
Everyone gets lit up on the patent abstract, which is of course the intent of the media. Always read the claims. The abstract is irrelevant to the patent, it's only the claims that matter.

Here are the claims from the USPTO. Enjoy:

Code:

What is claimed is:

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.

7. A portable electronic device, comprising: a touch-sensitive display; memory; one or more processors; and one or more modules stored in the memory and configured for execution by the one or more processors, the one or more modules including instructions: to detect a contact with the touch-sensitive display at a first predefined location corresponding to an unlock image; to continuously move the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display in accordance with movement of the detected contact while continuous contact with the touch-sensitive display 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 to unlock the hand-held electronic device if the unlock image is moved from the first predefined location on the touch screen to a predefined unlock region on the touch-sensitive display.

8. The device of claim 7, further comprising instructions to display visual cues to communicate a direction of movement of the unlock image required to unlock the device.

9. The device of claim 8, wherein the visual cues comprise text.

10. The device of claim 8, wherein said visual cues comprise an arrow indicating a general direction of movement.

11. A portable electronic device, comprising: a touch-sensitive display; means for displaying an unlock image at a first predefined location on the touch-sensitive display while the device is in a user-interface lock state; means for detecting contact with the touch-sensitive display; and means for continuously moving the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display in response to detecting the contact 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 means for transitioning the device to a user-interface unlock state 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.

12. A computer readable storage medium storing one or more programs, the one or more programs comprising instructions, which when executed by a portable electronic device with a touch-sensitive display, cause the portable electronic device to perform a 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.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein the unlock image is a single image.

14. The device of claim 7, wherein the unlock image is a single image.

15. The computer readable storage medium of claim 12, wherein the unlock image is a single image.



Will it be invalidated? Who knows. If Apple uses it, then we will have a chance to see.
post #19 of 192
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post #20 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcalpin View Post

That was copyright and trademark infringement, not patent infringement.

Crap....still though.

Can you imagine?
post #21 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic_Al View Post

Anyone who's thinking of posting criticism of this patent should first remember where they first experienced slide to unlock on a touch screen. It was probably on an Apple device.

Actually, the first time I slid my finger across something to unlock it was a fingerprint detector on a ThinkPad.

Also patent doesn't just have to be first - it should be non-obvious, and represent IP that has value. I could be the first to build a phone that is unlocked by pressing the letter Q, but that doesn't mean it's worthy of a patent.
post #22 of 192
Certainly claim 1 is not demonstrated by the youtube video posted earlier. Therefore, it can't be used as prior art.
post #23 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


Patent is for a gesture on devices. This patent doesn't cover all possible "slide to unlock" options such as this door lock. This patent is very specific. That means that you are clueless and/or troll. I'm guessing both.

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post #24 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


"to unlock gestures on a touchscreen device"

Having a tough time with reading comprehension?
post #25 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike View Post

Everyone gets lit up on the patent abstract, which is of course the intent of the media. Always read the claims. The abstract is irrelevant to the patent, it's only the claims that matter.

Here are the claims from the USPTO. Enjoy:

Code:

What is claimed is:

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.

7. A portable electronic device, comprising: a touch-sensitive display; memory; one or more processors; and one or more modules stored in the memory and configured for execution by the one or more processors, the one or more modules including instructions: to detect a contact with the touch-sensitive display at a first predefined location corresponding to an unlock image; to continuously move the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display in accordance with movement of the detected contact while continuous contact with the touch-sensitive display 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 to unlock the hand-held electronic device if the unlock image is moved from the first predefined location on the touch screen to a predefined unlock region on the touch-sensitive display.

8. The device of claim 7, further comprising instructions to display visual cues to communicate a direction of movement of the unlock image required to unlock the device.

9. The device of claim 8, wherein the visual cues comprise text.

10. The device of claim 8, wherein said visual cues comprise an arrow indicating a general direction of movement.

11. A portable electronic device, comprising: a touch-sensitive display; means for displaying an unlock image at a first predefined location on the touch-sensitive display while the device is in a user-interface lock state; means for detecting contact with the touch-sensitive display; and means for continuously moving the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display in response to detecting the contact 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 means for transitioning the device to a user-interface unlock state 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.

12. A computer readable storage medium storing one or more programs, the one or more programs comprising instructions, which when executed by a portable electronic device with a touch-sensitive display, cause the portable electronic device to perform a 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.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein the unlock image is a single image.

14. The device of claim 7, wherein the unlock image is a single image.

15. The computer readable storage medium of claim 12, wherein the unlock image is a single image.



Will it be invalidated? Who knows. If Apple uses it, then we will have a chance to see.

This seems much more constrained than previous reports of this patent and if accurate, means that the android gesture unlock is definitely *not* covered by this patent. There are several lesser tablets that will be in trouble but Android ... not so much.
post #26 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

Certainly claim 1 is not demonstrated by the youtube video posted earlier. Therefore, it can't be used as prior art.

The Dutch judge had ruled that the addition of an image (which is lacking in the Neonode) was too obvious to deserve a patent, quite understandably so. Images of sliders were used to demonstrate that the idea of visual cues to the gesture wasn't anything new or patent-worthy.

In any case, I have doubt that anybody in the industry is going to be seriously bothered by this patent. Plenty of alternatives exist, including far more inventive ones.
post #27 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


In that configuration if someone opens the door the chain will slide over and unlock.

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post #28 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I hate software patents.

I don't, especially when it's tied to a specifically designed piece of hardware and interface. This was designed specifically as a replacement to a login panel/screen saver unlock screen state paradigm that requires a predefined action in order to avoid an accidental unlocking; and all within a multi-touch, embedded interface.

A patent on how to implement a way to duplicate Newton Raphson's method without it being tied to some piece of hardware in some unique way, other than the standard mathematical algorithm of old is not a worthy patent candidate.
post #29 of 192
It's interesting how the majority here will defend Apple's patent suits, regardless as to whether or not they were actually issued in a fair and ethical fashion.
post #30 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post

It's interesting how the majority here will defend Apple's patent suits, regardless as to whether or not they were actually issued in a fair and ethical fashion.

But then Samsung uses their wireless patents against Apple, and suddenly things are 'unfair'.
post #31 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Old news, but sure to bring many clicks.

So, there you go:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-KS...layer_embedded

I'm curious what your point is with your post. On the eve of the iPhone release the announcer is reviewing another phone. We're not talking about before the iPhone was announced, as that was 6 months earlier. It also makes no mention of Neonode having any patents on slide to unlock, if that is your point. In fact there is nothing in the video to suggest that Neonode didn't get the idea for slide to unlock until after seeing Apple's January 2007 demo.
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post #32 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post

It's interesting how the majority here will defend Apple's patent suits, regardless as to whether or not they were actually issued in a fair and ethical fashion.

This is the first I've heard about patent offices being unfair and unethical. Care to elaborate?
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post #33 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I hate software patents.

Any rational person hates them. Unfortunately, they are currency.

The courts are filled by idiots.
post #34 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Old indeed: it was dismissed in the Dutch courts months ago:

Aug 24, 2011
Dutch judge considers Apple's slide-to-unlock patent trivial and likely invalid
http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011...-slide-to.html

It'll be interesting to see if it survives in the States.

Sorry, but that patent was not dismissed by the Dutch courts. One judge said that there were questions as to its validity. That is not even close to your claim that it was dismissed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


Yep. The trolls can't even get their silly arguments right. Look at the direction of the piece on the left. The 'hole' cutout should be on the left, not on the right, if you want this device to work properly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This seems much more constrained than previous reports of this patent and if accurate, means that the android gesture unlock is definitely *not* covered by this patent. There are several lesser tablets that will be in trouble but Android ... not so much.

I don't know about Android - there are too many different ones to be sure. But clearly, HP's TouchPad would be violating this patent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post

It's interesting how the majority here will defend Apple's patent suits, regardless as to whether or not they were actually issued in a fair and ethical fashion.

Interesting how the mindless trolls here will allege that Apple's patent was not issued in a fair and ethical fashion - but fail to provide any evidence to support that claim.
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post #35 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by linkgx1 View Post

And the patent wars continues. Samsung's gonna be ready if Apple decides to enter the TV market.

Not an issue if Apple merely licenses the whole ATV tech to be put inside existing TVs, rather than making the full box. Plus a lot of the patents may fall under FRAND

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post #36 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Old indeed: it was dismissed in the Dutch courts months ago:

Aug 24, 2011
Dutch judge considers Apple's slide-to-unlock patent trivial and likely invalid
http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011...-slide-to.html

It'll be interesting to see if it survives in the States.

As I recall, the original patent was on the gesture of swiping in any way shape or placement. This one is a modification specifically on using a preset gesture in a preset way and place as guided by a UI element on the screen. So in fact even the Dutch may validate this more specific version

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post #37 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post

Any rational person hates them.

Please elaborate. Why would a rational person invest time and resources to invent anything if a competitor can simply copy it for free?
post #38 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by linkgx1 View Post

But then Samsung uses their wireless patents against Apple, and suddenly things are 'unfair'.

Um, Samsung's patent in question most likely falls under FRAND whereas Apple's do not, hence the unfair part.
post #39 of 192
It's BS generic patients like this that kill competition and in long run increase prices. Patients have outlived their usefulness. Maybe Samsung should patient launching email by touching a button.
post #40 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Not an issue if Apple merely licenses the whole ATV tech to be put inside existing TVs, rather than making the full box. Plus a lot of the patents may fall under FRAND

Well, I was assuming apple would have a TV themselves. I really can't see Apple not doing something that's not theirs. They're not in the licensing business on that scale. If so, then they might as well sent iOS to Samsung so I can play Infiinity Blade on a Super AMOLED HD display.
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