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

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2020
Despite ordering a preliminary injunction against sales of three Samsung smartphones on this week, a Dutch judge dismissed Apple's "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 Apple's claimed invention," Mueller said.

A minor difference was noted, as Apple's slide-to-unlock technology also features an image that moves along with the finger on the screen when performing the sliding gesture, but that "didn't 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)."

Apple iPhone


"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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,003member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 81
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,501member
    Ah yes, the Dutch can become the new Switzerland of the Embedded World whereas Australia, Germany and others will uphold Apple's patents.
  • Reply 3 of 81
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 81
    Innovation... something everyone should copy...
  • Reply 5 of 81
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 81
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,003member
    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?!
  • Reply 7 of 81
  • Reply 8 of 81
    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?
  • Reply 9 of 81
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,003member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post






    Wohoa, hold on a minute!! Even lock manufacturers are now copying Apple?!!
  • Reply 10 of 81
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 81
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 81
    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?
  • Reply 13 of 81
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 81
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 81
    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 Apple?s "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.
  • Reply 16 of 81
    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".
  • Reply 17 of 81
    tdwstdws Posts: 16member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 81
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 81
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    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?
  • Reply 20 of 81
    umumumumumum Posts: 76member
    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
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