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New Apple suit claims Galaxy Nexus infringes on 'slide-to-unlock' feature

post #1 of 172
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Apple's latest German complaint against Samsung is the first time the company has named the South Korean electronics manufacturer's flagship Android handset in a lawsuit, claiming the device infringes the iPhone maker's "slide-to-unlock" utility model.

Mere hours after serving up a ruling on Friday for a failed Samsung lawsuit against Apple, the Mannheim Regional Court held a hearing about a so-called Gebrauchsmuster ("utility model") complaint the Cupertino, Calif., company is leveling against the Galaxy Nexus, reports FOSS Patents.

In Apple's first suit that directly names Samsung's Android-based smartphone, the company claims the Galaxy Nexus infringes on the "slide-to-unlock" feature first introduced with the original iPhone in 2007 and subsequently patented with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in October 2011. In 2006 the company also obtained a "utility model" registration for the feature in Germany.

FOSS Patent's Florian Mueller describes a "utility model" as a limited fast-track patent that companies are allowed to file for alongside traditional patents, and Apple has done both for the "slide-to-unlock" in Germany.

Examinations of utility model registrations are not as stringent as patent filings and don't carry a presumption of validity which is necessary for a court ruling. Thus the Mannheim court does not foresee an immediate decision in the "slide-to-unlock" suit as it believes the validity or invalidity of the invention is too close to call.

Judge Andreas Voss could opt to stay the case pending the conclusion of an identical suit at the Munich-based Federal Patent court to avoid inconsistent rulings, but Apple wants to obtain a decision as soon as possible. If a stay was instituted, the "slide-to-unlock" model could come dangerously close to its 10-year expiration date, becoming increasingly devalued commercially.


YouTube spot showing Samsung's implementation of gesture unlocking on the Galaxy Nexus (at 0:08) | Source: T3.com


As part of its defense, Samsung is pointing to a relatively unknown Swedish device called the Neonode that persuaded a Dutch judge to doubt the validity of Apple's "slide-to-unlock" filing in 2011. Mueller notes, however, that the standard of availability for a device is much higher in a utility model case than a patent suit.

The Mannheim court is expected to announce either a ruling, a stay or decision to appoint an independent expert to help assess Apple's claims on March 16, 2012.
post #2 of 172
The more rational among us know that there's absolutely no case here, and that'll likely be what the courts determine as well.

Apple (and a few others) have become little more than patent trolling bullies, and it's time it came to a stop.
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post #3 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's newest German complaint against Samsung is the first time the company has named the South Korean electronics manufacturer's flagship Android handset in a lawsuit, claiming the device infringes the iPhone maker's "slide-to-unlock" utility model. ...

You know what would be far more relevant that a GIANT picture of an iPhone?

A picture or video of the Samsung copy of it so we can actually make informed comments.

They have already been granted this patent so it will pretty much be a slam dunk for anyone using a similar looking method, but it's impossible to know how similar the SII is because you neglected to include any information on it.
post #4 of 172
The Galaxy Nexus does use slide-to-unlock but it doesn't look the same as Apple's lock. A certain level of sliding is expected as capacitance touch screens hit the market. I think this makes the action natural and usage natural enough that even if the concept was original when they filed it the market shows that it's common sense now. I think they will lose this one.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Apple (and a few others) have become little more than patent trolling bullies, and it's time it came to a stop.

"little more than"
"patent trolling"

Hyperbole much? If only they had products and services on the market and used the patents they create¡

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post #5 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

You know what would be far more relevant that a GIANT picture of an iPhone?

A picture or video of the Samsung copy of it so we can actually make informed comments.

They have already been granted this patent so it will pretty much be a slam dunk for anyone using a similar looking method, but it's impossible to know how similar the SII is because you neglected to include any information on it.

Galaxy Nexus:


You slide the lock to the right to unlock it...it isn't along a predetermined path though as long as the end point is the same

Galaxy SII


You slide the entire image out the way...in any direction I believe.


hardly a copy.
post #6 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

The more rational among us know that there's absolutely no case here, and that'll likely be what the courts determine as well.

Apple (and a few others) have become little more than patent trolling bullies, and it's time it came to a stop.

It's patented by Apple. You either defend your patents or lose them. Deal with it.
post #7 of 172


This is the default slide to unlock for Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
post #8 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

You know what would be far more relevant that a GIANT picture of an iPhone?

A picture or video of the Samsung copy of it so we can actually make informed comments.

...

Absolutely true...

By the way, there's a plethora of methods to unlock any Android device... I don't see the point in going after one of them. Licensing is clearly too civilized a solution for this late in the fight, and removing it from the stock OS would have zero real world effect...
post #9 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Galaxy Nexus:


You slide the lock to the right to unlock it...it isn't along a predetermined path though as long as the end point is the same

Galaxy SII


You slide the entire image out the way...in any direction I believe.


hardly a copy.

The actual patent isn't about an icon but the interaction of the interface and unlocking the interface via a slide action.
post #10 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

It's patented by Apple. You either defend your patents or lose them. Deal with it.

This is patented by Apple:



Along with line art that resembles the image.

The Galaxy Nexus implementation should not be covered by the patent.
post #11 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

The actual patent isn't about an icon but the interaction of the interface and unlocking the interface via a slide action.

oh...so the patent is about the idea of interacting with a touch screen using a slide motion to initiate an action such as unlocking the device?
post #12 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

It's patented by Apple. You either defend your patents or lose them. Deal with it.

No, that is copyright law. You don't automatically lose a patent for not enforcing it.
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post #13 of 172
Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a pretty nice device. Very smooth. Camera is fast but quality sucks.
post #14 of 172
Well,

I have a Galaxy Nexus and I can say with 100% certainty, that it is NOT a slide to unlock feature. When you put you finger on the unlock icon, a floating circle appears. You can then move your finger in any (360 degree) direction and the ball follows. When you move close to an icon on the outer circle (Just two for now, Unlock and Camera) the ball snaps to the icon. If you lift your finger, it performs the action of the icon. For now it unlocks the phone or opens the camera app. In the next Android update, you will be able to put your own app icons on the circle and have it go straight to them......

I just can't see how Apple is going to win this one....
post #15 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by sranger View Post

... that it is NOT a slide to unlock feature.
[...]
When you move close to an icon on the outer circle (Just two for now.

And how do you move to the other icon? Sliding.

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post #16 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

It's patented by Apple. You either defend your patents or lose them. Deal with it.

I think you mean a different form of IP
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post #17 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

And how do you move to the other icon? Sliding.

Then the Neonode N1m would be prior art
post #18 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

A picture or video of the Samsung copy of it so we can actually make informed comments.

The nexus is a pure example of google android, samsung has not changed the operating system. Therefore it is not a 'samsung copy'

Quote:
They have already been granted this patent so it will pretty much be a slam dunk for anyone using a similar looking method, but it's impossible to know how similar the SII is because you neglected to include any information on it.

Grated patents means little. Invalidation occurs routinely. Apple has to make it through a lawsuit, and any prior art the patent examiner was not aware of before gaining any benefit.
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post #19 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

The more rational among us know that there's absolutely no case here, and that'll likely be what the courts determine as well.

Apple (and a few others) have become little more than patent trolling bullies, and it's time it came to a stop.

The more rational among us know that the original intent of the patent laws was to protect patent holders from others' leeching off their work. Using patent law in the original spirit of the law does not make you a patent trolling bully.

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post #20 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

Then the Neonode N1m would be prior art

No, it wouldn't. The Neonode device does not use slide to unlock. Samsung is pretending that ANY sliding action must be prior art - and that's just not so.

But then, what would you expect from a company whose attorneys in a trade dress suit can't even tell the difference between the original and their copy?
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post #21 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

You know what would be far more relevant that a GIANT picture of an iPhone?

A picture or video of the Samsung copy of it so we can actually make informed comments.

They have already been granted this patent so it will pretty much be a slam dunk for anyone using a similar looking method, but it's impossible to know how similar the SII is because you neglected to include any information on it.

I tested a Galaxy Nexus for 30 days with my IP4s. It does not look or feel or imitate the iPhone at all! It is almost 5 inches long and it does not use a slide to unlock like the iPhone...it shows a picture of a lock and you move it in the general direction to the right to unlock. You can also use facial recognition as well. Apple is really stretching with this one.
I chose to keep the IP4s...it is a better all around device and the battery last so much longer.

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post #22 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

And how do you move to the other icon? Sliding.

True you do slide it...but it is not just in a straight line like the iPhone slide works. It just has to be in the general direction...not a straight line.

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post #23 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

I tested a Galaxy Nexus for 30 days with my IP4s. It does not look or feel or imitate the iPhone at all! It is almost 5 inches long and it does not use a slide to unlock like the iPhone...it shows a picture of a lock and you move it in the general direction to the right to unlock. You can also use facial recognition as well. Apple is really stretching with this one.
I chose to keep the IP4s...it is a better all around device and the battery last so much longer.

I appreciate an open mind.

I still hold that the iPhone 4S is the best phone on the market for the general consumer...and honestly if I wasn't a tinkerer I'd definitely get one.

For now I'm waiting for the NEXT Nexus device or another pure Google device as I feel the GNex is too large even for me and would prefer a 4.3in max size...plus better build quality.
post #24 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

No, it wouldn't. The Neonode device does not use slide to unlock. Samsung is pretending that ANY sliding action must be prior art - and that's just not so.

But then, what would you expect from a company whose attorneys in a trade dress suit can't even tell the difference between the original and their copy?

That's his point...the implementations of the ICS lock screen and iOS lock slider are vastly different...and the only way they are similar is in the fact that you can indeed slide the icon of the GNex horizontally (but arent' restricted to that motion).

Also pay attention...the only thing Samsung here is the hardware, the software is all Google...and I don't give a damn how much of an Apple fanatic you are, you'd have to be downright braindead to suggest that the GNex and ANY Apple device are similar.
post #25 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

I appreciate an open mind.

I still hold that the iPhone 4S is the best phone on the market for the general consumer...and honestly if I wasn't a tinkerer I'd definitely get one.

For now I'm waiting for the NEXT Nexus device or another pure Google device as I feel the GNex is too large even for me and would prefer a 4.3in max size...plus better build quality.

You are so right about tinkering! I used to have a Droid Bionic too. Along with the Nexus I found myself flashing one rom after another! So much so that it became way to much work! I found myself using the IP4s because ti was just way easier to use. But I find myself wanting to test and see the new Droid Razr Max when it comes out! If it can deliver on the battery life then it will be a heck of a phone!

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post #26 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Galaxy Nexus:


You slide the lock to the right to unlock it...it isn't along a predetermined path though as long as the end point is the same

Galaxy SII


You slide the entire image out the way...in any direction I believe.


hardly a copy.

I disagree.

If you read the wording of the patent, the top one is fine, the bottom one (the one they are fighting) is clearly in violation.

Edit:

Based on the actual text which I just found:

A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined 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 touch screen to remind a user of the gesture. In addition, there is a need for sensory feedback to the user regarding progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition that is required for the transition to occur.

They are *both* in violation. Clearly.

Whether or not the judges agree or some technicality arises etc. will be fun to see, but based on the wording of the granted patent both of these things clearly violate the patent.
post #27 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

You are so right about tinkering! I used to have a Droid Bionic too. Along with the Nexus I found myself flashing one rom after another! So much so that it became way to much work! I found myself using the IP4s because ti was just way easier to use. But I find myself wanting to test and see the new Droid Razr Max when it comes out! If it can deliver on the battery life then it will be a heck of a phone!

I'm not partial to Motorola build designs...I'm shocked no one has designed a simple black box with barely rounded corners (less rounded than the iPhone)

I dunno...I see Android suffering in the near future as the Blitzkrieg approach to gain marketshare isn't sustainable and the OEMs seem to be unaware of that...Google seems to be aware though....but not so open about it...that's just opinion though.
post #28 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I disagree.

If you read the wording of the patent, the top one is fine, the bottom one (the one they are fighting) is clearly in violation.

Being about to move an image in any which direction imaginable along a non-predefined path is clearly in violation?

Honestly, I'd think the bottom one is surprisingly LESS in violation than the top one...and Samsung is a copycat.
post #29 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

And how do you move to the other icon? Sliding.

It meant DOES NOT work as a sliding switch like Apple's does. It acts completely different...

I cannot accept that ANY sliding motion of any type is covered by Apple's patent.... That would be insane....
post #30 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Being about to move an image in any which direction imaginable along a non-predefined path is clearly in violation?

Honestly, I'd think the bottom one is surprisingly LESS in violation than the top one...and Samsung is a copycat.

I refined my original post with the actual text of the patent.

The whole "predefined path" thing is a red herring. It's not actually in there that way, it says only that one implementation *may* include that. It doesn't have to have a predefined path to be in violation apparently.

It seems to clearly cover almost any kind of touch motion that includes sliding and unlocking together.

In all fairness, regardless of what one thinks of Apple, Android, patents, patent law etc., Apple did actually invent this first.

They certainly deserve to win regardless of whether they eventually do or not.
post #31 of 172
I also agree with AbsoluteDesignz about absurdity of Apple going after Samsung for something that is part of the stock Android 4.0 build.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sranger View Post

It meant DOES NOT work as a sliding switch like Apple's does. It acts completely different...

I cannot accept that ANY sliding motion of any type is covered by Apple's patent.... That would be insane....

You added an odd qualifier this time. "Switch' to make it 'sliding switch'. Does the sliding effect how the display switches from a locked mode to an unlocked mode or not? It sure likes you have to slide it to switch modes.

Again, I don't think Apple has a case here but I was commenting on your comment "that it is NOT a slide to unlock feature."

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post #32 of 172
For total transparency, I'll admit that I like and use Android. I should also say that I own a Mac and am quite happy with it. I'm not some biased little idiot screaming "f*ck Apple, Android FTW!!", just putting my (hopefully unbiased) opinion out there.

Now that that's out of the way, this suit is absolutely bogus. Here's my reasoning:
1. If there had been any time for Apple to sue over this patent, it should have been anytime between when Android first came out and just before Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) came out. The reason I think this is because on stock Android's default lockscreen, the ONLY way to unlock the phone is a straight horizontal slide from far left to far right, much like Apple's version. A slide from the opposite side (right to left) usually mutes/unmutes the phone. Any Android version 2.3.7 and below employs this feature and that's when it most resembled iOS's "slide to unlock", not now.
2. As others have pointed out, this suit is absolutely unnecessary simply for the fact that there are at least 5 different ways to unlock the Galaxy Nexus: Face unlock, the standard slide to unlock (the one being argued about here), PIN unlock (4 digits), password unlock (letters, numbers, other characters), pattern unlock, and maybe 1 or two more since I've never seen a Galaxy Nexus in-person. Even if this suit goes in Apple's favor, all Google has to do is take out the slide to unlock feature and (more than likely) pay a fine. Big whoop.
3. The slide to unlock feature on the Galaxy Nexus is (for the most part) completely different than iOS's slide to unlock. I do concede, you are "sliding" something to another location, but in Apple's method, you are constrained to the same straight horizontal, left-to-right motion every single time. With the Galaxy Nexus, you put your finger on the lock icon and you can move it anywhere within the circle that shows up. And supposedly, future updates will allow you to add/subtract things to unlock to and where to place them, furthering the disparity between the two. Not only that, but the start and end points for the methods employed by Android and iOS are different. GN: center to right, iPhone: far left to far right. Again, I am forced to reference my first point, when this suit would have been more applicable.

I think we can all agree (iOS and Android fans alike) this patent slinging is getting ridiculous, regardless of who wins...
post #33 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I also agree with AbsoluteDesignz about absurdity of Apple going after Samsung for something that is part of the stock Android 4.0 build.

That's ridiculous.

Either Apple's claim is valid or it isn't. The fact that Android 4.0 (which came out many years after the patent was issued) uses the same design can't possibly have any bearing on the validity of Apple's claim.
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post #34 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

That's ridiculous.

Either Apple's claim is valid or it isn't. The fact that Android 4.0 (which came out many years after the patent was issued) uses the same design can't possibly have any bearing on the validity of Apple's claim.

The point being made is Samsung did not make design or build Android Ice Cream Sandwich....GOOGLE did....so Apple should go after the company that actually designed the software they say infringes on their IP.....

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post #35 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

No, it wouldn't. The Neonode device does not use slide to unlock. ...

The Neonode DOES use slide to unlock, for the first time years before the iPhone. But we're not discussing here the validity of Apple's patent -- it was granted, justly or not, and the question now is whether it is being impinged on by the Galaxy Nexus. Most likely, it isn't, but that's yet to see...
post #36 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

The Neonode DOES use slide to unlock, for the first time years before the iPhone. But we're not discussing here the validity of Apple's patent -- it was granted, justly or not, and the question now is whether it is being impinged on by the Galaxy Nexus. Most likely, it isn't, but that's yet to see...

The Neonode did slide to unlock before the iPhone. That is true.

Did Neonode's file a patent? If they didn't file a patent then that will weaken any claim they have. If they did then you'd have to examine the scope of their patent and how it's used across devices. Simply having a general patent doesn't mean you can't conceive of a more specific patent that does something differently. That happens all the time. The Neonode didn't even use a capacitance touchscreen which in itself could be damning if their patent filing is too specific (or so vague that it renders it moot).

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post #37 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

The Neonode did slide to unlock before the iPhone. That is true.

Did Neonode's file a patent? ...

Not that I'm aware of; but there's their products as prior art. Consequently, Apple's patent needed to be very specific in order to have sufficient novelty. As a result of this, Galaxy Nexus can easily be shown in court to differ sufficiently from Apple's patent.
post #38 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

I appreciate an open mind.

I still hold that the iPhone 4S is the best phone on the market for the general consumer...and honestly if I wasn't a tinkerer I'd definitely get one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

You are so right about tinkering! I used to have a Droid Bionic too. Along with the Nexus I found myself flashing one rom after another! So much so that it became way to much work! I found myself using the IP4s because ti was just way easier to use. But I find myself wanting to test and see the new Droid Razr Max when it comes out! If it can deliver on the battery life then it will be a heck of a phone!

I've often wondered what the tinkering is intended to achieve. Is the end point some actual enhanced functionality or just non-standard personalization of the interface? Or something else again? Is it worth the effort?
post #39 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by squiddy20 View Post

I think we can all agree (iOS and Android fans alike) this patent slinging is getting ridiculous, regardless of who wins...


Android is a stolen OS. Apple as no choice but to protect its IP.
post #40 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

The point being made is Samsung did not make design or build Android Ice Cream Sandwich....GOOGLE did....so Apple should go after the company that actually designed the software they say infringes on their IP.....

I believe the rationale is that only one of those companies is selling a product that uses a design that may infringe on the patent.

Apple's goal (it seems) is to make it hard for hardware manufacturers to invest in Android. If different aspects of the OS are toxic, it gets a lot less attractive, even at "free."
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