Apple's 'slide to unlock' patent invalidated by German court

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
As part of an ongoing German patent struggle, Motorola on Thursday won a ruling from the country's Federal Patent Court, which said found all claims of Apple's "slide to unlock" user interface property invalid, though the decision can be appealed.

According to FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller, the parties affected by the ruling, Apple, Samsung and Google, all knew the Bundespatentgericht was likely to invalidate European Patent EP1964022 for "unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image."

Slide to Unlock
Source: Espacenet


The ruling came at the end of a day-long court session where Apple attempted to save the patent's validity by presenting 14 proposed claim amendments.

In the end, Apple's patent is somewhat irrelevant as manufacturers have implemented similar design workarounds that accomplish the same basic slide to unlock functionality, which is used on veritably all smartphones. The German court noted that Apple's patent claim for a swiping gesture, the only new enhancement to prior art, doesn't meet certain requirements of European patent law. This so-called inventive step, which is needed to uphold a patent's claims, was deemed "software as such" and not a requisite technical innovation to a technical problem.

Apple's patent has a spotty history with the German court system. The Munich I Regional Court in February of 2012 granted Apple a permanent injunction against Motorola over the improper use of the slide to unlock patent. However, a similar suit leveled against Samsung was tossed by the Mannheim Regional Court just one month later.

It is expected that Apple will appeal Thursday's ruling to the Bundesgerichtshof, or Germany's Federal Court of Justice, though no official documentation of such action has been filed.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,098member
    So I guess Apple should be free to implement any number of new unlocking techniques without worry.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    blitz1blitz1 Posts: 412member
    Damn the Germans.

    After the Australians, the English, the Germans, ... why doesn't Apple just stick to the US.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    just_mejust_me Posts: 590member
    blitz1 wrote: »
    Damn the Germans.

    After the Australians, the English, the Germans, ... why doesn't Apple just stick to the US.

    Apple would lose most of their profits
  • Reply 4 of 14
    I am from Germany and I don't like to read such rassism "damn the Germans" here.

    Please stay fair. I don't like this judge as well but we live in a democratic world, thanks God and not in a world where people just damn each other
  • Reply 5 of 14
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,240member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blitz1 View Post



    Damn the Germans.



    After the Australians, the English, the Germans, ... why doesn't Apple just stick to the US.


     


    Now, now. Be civil. 

  • Reply 6 of 14
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

    Apple would lose most of their profits


     


    Most?





    Originally Posted by MacHarry de View Post

    I am from Germany and I don't like to read such rassism "damn the Germans" here.


     


    Wilkommen! That's not racism. You're certainly right about the rest, though.

  • Reply 7 of 14
    Seems that all the judges are in the pockets of who has bigger envelope for them a crooked world we live in!
  • Reply 8 of 14
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Most?


     



     


    By quite a margin.


     



    http://seekingalpha.com/article/1219211-apple-s-revenue-by-region-there-s-more-to-the-company-s-story

  • Reply 9 of 14
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


     


    Looks like the margin is only 14%. And that's assuming "all" of 'Retail' is outside the US.


     


    But you're right, of course. Thanks for the clarification!

  • Reply 10 of 14
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,030member


    All this means is that this patent was (incorrectly) invalidated in Germany. It's still valid in the US. The problem in Germany is that the regional court flipflopped on their ruling saying Motorola violated the patent while Samsung didn't. This is what concerns me the most. I wish this court system would agree on something. Of course that's asking a lot since judges all over the world can't agree on much of anything.

  • Reply 11 of 14
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blitz1 View Post



    After the Australians, the English, the Germans, ... why doesn't Apple just stick to the US.


     


    Various Apple patents and trademarks have been invalidated in the US as well.


     


    If Apple did as you and some others have suggested, they'd run out of places to sell their products.

  • Reply 12 of 14
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Looks like the margin is only 14%. And that's assuming "all" of 'Retail' is outside the US.


     


    But you're right, of course. Thanks for the clarification!





    Equally assuming 'Americas' is just the US - which I doubt somewhat.

  • Reply 13 of 14
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,356member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blitz1 View Post



    Damn the Germans.



    After the Australians, the English, the Germans, ... why doesn't Apple just stick to the US.


    Facepalm!


    I thought it was an untrue stereotype that there were some Americans that believed that anything outside of America is unimportant.


    I'm glad that you aren't running a company and especially glad that the people at Apple aren't as self important and blinkered as you are.

  • Reply 14 of 14
    To the author of the article: that's not what the word "veritably" means. I suspect you meant to say "virtually."
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