German court rules against Apple 'swipe-to-unlock' patent protection

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2015
Judges in a top German court ruled against Apple's European "swipe-to-unlock" patent on Tuesday, stating that it didn't meet high enough standards to secure patent protection.




The decision reinforces findings by an earlier patent tribunal in favor of Lenovo's Motorola Mobility unit, according to Bloomberg. The Motorola lawsuit originally had Samsung as another plaintiff, but the latter company ultimately withdrew.

"This user-friendly display was already suggested by the state of the art," the court said today. "The contested patent thus isn't based on an invention."

Apple managed to secure a German court injunction against Motorola in 2012, claiming that the company's implementation of Android violated its unlocking concept. The associated lawsuit is still pending on appeal, but should soon be able to move forward thanks to today's ruling.

Both American and European "slide-to-unlock" patents were once instrumental in Apple's legal campaign against Android device makers, borne out by former CEO Steve Jobs' accusations that the OS stole ideas from the iPhone. In May 2014 Samsung was found guilty of infringing the U.S. version of the patent, but earlier this year an appeals court panel voiced skepticism that Apple had encountered "irreparable harm" from the patent's misuse -- particularly since Samsung has long since stopped selling products that allegedly violate it, and Apple has licensed the technology to other parties.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 68
    Omg.

    Apple invents the gesture in this particular use case where it had never been done before and now that everyone wants to copy they get ripped.

    Plain sucks.
  • Reply 2 of 68
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,558member
    "High enough standards" = Minimum bribe threshold.
  • Reply 3 of 68
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,287member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    ...an appeals court panel voiced skepticism that Apple had encountered "irreparable harm" from the patent's misuse -- particularly since Samsung has long since stopped selling products that allegedly violate it, and Apple has licensed the technology to other parties.

     

    Yeah, because iPhone-cloners like Samsung use Apple's tech to make it look/feel like an Apple product, and then after they stole - make their money, the go elsewhere.



    What the hell is the use of a patent, if they can't enforce it?  Apple made/redefined/etc.. the modern touchscreen-OS interface and now the courts (not the patent office) are now the ones deciding to what degree a patent must be violated before the patent can be used?  Bullsh!t.

  • Reply 4 of 68
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member
    This is happening because the software industry is anti-patent. And Apple lets its defense lawyers trash the patent system just as much as any other big tech company. I've been complaining about this for years. Nobody likes to pay royalties on patents, but you can't have it both ways. You can't expect the courts to apply one standard when the innovation comes from a non-practicing inventor and apply a different standard when it's a big company. Courts don't play favorites, and we wouldn't want them to.
  • Reply 5 of 68
    chasmchasm Posts: 958member
    While all the components of this invention were, to be fair, already present -- and I'm sure "keycards" were around at the time, so it wasn't the most original thing ever created, but it was a first for that application. That's essentially most of what Apple does -- takes existing ideas and synthesizes them into new yet intuitive inventions.

    Touch ID is a perfect example. Fingerprint readers have been around for ages, but once you put it on the iPhone the "slide to unlock" thing seems childishly primitive by comparison. And Apple went further and invented a mobile payment system based on Touch ID that far surpasses the security of all current payment systems -- but I suppose there's no valid patent in that either, since every part of it existed beforehand. I think the patent courts and patent system punish original thinking as much as they reward it sometimes.
  • Reply 6 of 68
    2stepbay2stepbay Posts: 108member
    Somewhat irrelevant court conclusion. Apple has handily won in other more important realms beyond the illogical/capricious court systems. iPhone 6 & 6 have left Samsung sputtering for air in their mobile phones division; others are either gone or soon to be dust. Game, Set, Match.
  • Reply 7 of 68
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    9secondko wrote: »
    Omg.

    Apple invents the gesture in this particular use case where it had never been done before and now that everyone wants to copy they get ripped.

    Plain sucks.


    Actually they didn't it, Neonode invented and even released a phone with slide to unlock, 3 years before the iPhone. Though Apple's implementation was more elegant. This patent should have never been granted in the first place as the only thing separating the two was a slide bar graphic. Here is Neonode's patent filing http://www.google.com/patents/US8095879?dq=8095879&ei=YHdCT56bFerE2wXU8qiVCA and a picture;

    Neonode%2BN1m%2Bslide%2Bto%2Bunlock.png
  • Reply 8 of 68
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member
    Hopefully big companies like Apple will lose more cases like this to motivate them to support the patent system. We need to stop the war on non-practicing entities. It is destroying the patent system. If we don't change course soon, China will soon be a better place to protect your intellectual property. I know it sounds preposterous, but that's where things are headed right now. China gets better every year and the U.S. Gets worse.
  • Reply 9 of 68



    Huh?

  • Reply 10 of 68

    Why do taxpayers even pay for these bozos...

     

    /facepalm

  • Reply 11 of 68
    ash471 wrote: »
    This is happening because the software industry is anti-patent. And Apple lets its defense lawyers trash the patent system just as much as any other big tech company. I've been complaining about this for years. Nobody likes to pay royalties on patents, but you can't have it both ways. You can't expect the courts to apply one standard when the innovation comes from a non-practicing inventor and apply a different standard when it's a big company. Courts don't play favorites, and we wouldn't want them to.

    Apple licenses 1-Click purchase patent from Amazon. Amazon has had no luck getting patent protection for it in Europe. It doesn't surprise me that Apple is losing this in Germany. Or as the trolls say, "loosing." ;)
  • Reply 12 of 68
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 658member
    ash471 wrote: »
    We need to stop the war on non-practicing entities. It is destroying the patent system.

    Why? How do they benefit the industry or inventors? How is it destroying the patent system?

    Why do taxpayers even pay for these bozos...

    /facepalm

    Hopefully the UK won't be for much longer :D
  • Reply 13 of 68
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,110member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 9secondko View Post



    Omg.



    Apple invents the gesture in this particular use case where it had never been done before and now that everyone wants to copy they get ripped.



    Plain sucks.



    It's ONLY in Germany. Frankly, who cares at this point? Their thumbprint reader is far more important.

  • Reply 14 of 68
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,110member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ash471 View Post



    This is happening because the software industry is anti-patent. And Apple lets its defense lawyers trash the patent system just as much as any other big tech company. I've been complaining about this for years. Nobody likes to pay royalties on patents, but you can't have it both ways. You can't expect the courts to apply one standard when the innovation comes from a non-practicing inventor and apply a different standard when it's a big company. Courts don't play favorites, and we wouldn't want them to.



    It's a GERMANY ONLY ruling. Do understand that distinction?

  • Reply 15 of 68
    @ash471. "...China will soon be a better place to protect your intellectual property..."????

    Not sure of your agenda, but it seems appears based on a mindless ignorance of patent infractions in real life. Any new info to back up this assertion?
  • Reply 16 of 68
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,072member

    I hope it destroys the patent system - get rid of all software patents, they are stupid.

  • Reply 17 of 68
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,110member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

     

    I hope it destroys the patent system - get rid of all software patents, they are stupid.




    That's Commie/Google talk.

  • Reply 18 of 68
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,775member

    I like to ask the judges a dialectic question.  If the iPhone does not meet high enough standards, why the consumers are willing to pay a high premium for iPhone?  If the judges care to look around, most of the iPhone features have been copied by an army of cloners.  So what are the unique features that the consumers are paying for? 

  • Reply 19 of 68
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,963member
    tzeshan wrote: »
    I like to ask the judges a dialectic question.  If the iPhone does not meet high enough standards, why the consumers are willing to pay a high premium for iPhone?  If the judges care to look around, most of the iPhone features have been copied by an army of cloners.  So what are the unique features that the consumers are paying for? 

    I don't think they meant the phone itself didn't meet high enough standards.
  • Reply 20 of 68
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,178member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

     

    I hope it destroys the patent system - get rid of all software patents, they are stupid.


     

    Says someone likely to have never had an original idea in his life. It takes a lot of work and to make something innovative, it takes 5 minutes to copy it. Without protection, you forfeit progression.

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