Apple Patents "Slide To Unlock" Feature, All Android Devices Now In Violation

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News Posted: Thu, Oct 27 2011 3:32 PM
The patent wars continue to rage, and during a stretch where Apple is kicking some serious tail, the Cupertino crew just scored a major coup by successfully patenting the slide-to-unlock feature--at least in the U.S.

Yes, that’s the same slide-to-unlock feature used on pretty much every touchscreen smartphone and tablet in existence. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has made that small but important item Apple’s exclusive property. It remains to be seen what the company will do with this legal win, but we wager that Google personnel and Android device makers (and for that matter, the Windows Phone 7 folks) popped an antacid after their breakfasts today.



It’s also unclear how and if Apple’s competitors can get around this new patent. We’re not exactly patent law experts around here, but here’s the abstract from United States Patent 7657849--which, incidentally, was originally filed back in December of 2005.
Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image

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.
Does that mean that if that feature is called “swip to unlock” on Android devices, there’s no violation? Does it mean that any contact with the screen resulting in an unlocking of the device constitutes patent infringement? Does it mean that there’s no violation as long as there’s no “unlock image”?

We don’t know, but we’ll most likely hear about it from the courts in the coming months and years.
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lipe123 replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 4:12 PM

Just one question, is the US patent office on drugs ?!

How about we all just start filing patents on random BS and then we all get rich just sueing everyone else.

This stuff just makes me angry since its only hurting the end user and the development of better tech.

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Inspector replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 4:20 PM

WHAT? How can they let a patent like this pass to any one company? These patents are not helping any one protect anything, only stalling technology.

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Aoshi replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 4:23 PM

LOL Apple. This was just funny. They should patent smartphones in general.

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AKwyn replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 4:31 PM

This is ridiculous, even when Steve Jobs is dead; the war keeps on going on.

I'm guessing all those people will be lining up to either sue Apple or license the technology from them.

 

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CDeeter replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 5:19 PM

That is so vague it's unbelievable a patent was issued in the first place.

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Manduh replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 8:14 PM

I can't believe they are able to patent that! Especially since a bunch of companies already use it. Maybe I should patent the way I wipe my ass and sue anybody who does it the same way as me. (ooops was that too much?) LoL!!

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Best patent I've seen in a while. Apple definitely has some patent tricks up their sleeves. Its not the end of the world, people will just have to settle for just a Unlock Yes or No without the slide or rival companies just pay up royalty for licensing this feature."

"I would like submit some alternative patents to U.S. Patent & Trademark Office before Apple or anyone does, let see:

Shake to Unlock

A device with a built in gyroscope may be unlocked via shaking with a hand. The Device is unlocked if a violent movement of the hand with the device in grip position, is performed.

Swipe Clockwise From 12 O'clock to 6 O'clock

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 Clock Figure with the times of 12 3 6 and 9.  A swipe gesture from the 12 position to the 6 position is performed in order to unlock the device.

Talk to Unlock

A device with a voice recognition software. The device is unlocked if voice communication with the device is performed when the command "Unlock Phone" is given to the competent device.

 

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AKwyn replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 8:38 PM

Wheatley:
"Best patent I've seen in a while. Apple definitely has some patent tricks up their sleeves. Its not the end of the world, people will just have to settle for just a Unlock Yes or No without the slide or rival companies just pay up royalty for licensing this feature."

Um... You don't seem to understand the severity of the situation; Apple has been cracking down on companies with android specific devices in an effort to destroy it, this is just another tactic in order to force Android manufactures to either license from Apple or to develop their own solutions despite the fact that they have been using a similar system for years without facing litigation. I mean you didn't see Apple "patenting" this thing in 2007 when the iPhone was release did they. It's goes much deeper then "Oh well, people are going to have to use something different.", much deeper...

Also what opinions do you have about Microsoft patenting stuff? I mean they're doing the same thing Apple is doing, are they brilliant as well?

 

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Manduh replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 9:00 PM

OptimusPrimeTime:

Talk to Unlock

A device with a voice recognition software. The device is unlocked if voice communication with the device is performed when the command "Unlock Phone" is given to the competent device.

This one has been done hasn't it? I remember something about it but can't find the article(s). But remember thinking that would be a pain in the a$$ because what if you have a cold or strep throat, etc and your device can't 'recognize' you. I suppose typing a password in that event would solve the issue though.  But yes, I'm positive a company has already came out with it, or was in the midst of doing so.  And come to think of it so has "shake to unlock" (iShakeLock and ShakeToUnlock apps do this) - but hey, Apple should hurry up and patent them!! :O

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Manduh replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 9:03 PM

TaylorKarras:

Wheatley:
"Best patent I've seen in a while. Apple definitely has some patent tricks up their sleeves. Its not the end of the world, people will just have to settle for just a Unlock Yes or No without the slide or rival companies just pay up royalty for licensing this feature."

Why does "Wheatley:" come up when you quote him, instead of OptimusPrimeTime? I've seen it before but was too lazy to ask lol

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AJames replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 9:08 PM

is the illustration straight out of the patent? if so, doesnt that just specify the swipe to be in a horizontal fashion on a circular object? my android unlock is a swipe down on a bar. and my friends is a swipe pattern. there's nothing horizontal about either of our swipes. or are patents that apple files so vague that the "swipe to lock" patent could possibly be interpreted to "any sort of touching of the screen to lock" patent

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Manduh:
This one has been done hasn't it? I remember something about it but can't find the article(s). But remember thinking that would be a pain in the a$ because what if you have a cold or strep throat, etc and your device can't 'recognize' you. I suppose typing a password in that event would solve the issue though.  But yes, I'm positive a company has already came out with it, or was in the midst of doing so.  And come to think of it so has "shake to unlock" (iShakeLock and ShakeToUnlock apps do this) - but hey, Apple should hurry up and patent them!! :O

"Come to think of it I think so. Well, at least my * Set Time to Six O'clock Unlock" is pretty original. I like your idea too:

Manduh:

I can't believe they are able to patent that! Especially since a bunch of companies already use it. Maybe I should patent the way I wipe my ass and sue anybody who does it the same way as me. (ooops was that too much?) LoL!!

Swipe Butt to Unlock

    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 figure of a Butt with *** stain around it.  The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a paper toilet tissue icon that is swiped around the *** stained Butt figure until its clean."

Reference for the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Hothardware.com Forum user : Manduh wrote the following post at Thu, Oct 27 2011 8:14 PM

 

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Manduh replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 9:50 PM

OptimusPrimeTime:

Swipe Butt to Unlock

    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 figure of a Butt with *** stain around it.  The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a paper toilet tissue icon that is swiped around the *** stained Butt figure until its clean."

Reference for the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Hothardware.com Forum user : Manduh wrote the following post at Thu, Oct 27 2011 8:14 PM

BAHAHAHAHA!!!  I just about choked laughing so hard LMFAO!!!

I must be tired :P

 

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omegadraco replied on Thu, Oct 27 2011 10:09 PM

@Taylor I agree these type of vague patents are killing the technology industry. The article also states that the patent was filed for in December of 2005 so this would be before the iPhone.

@AJames the patent covers any swipe to unlock according to the articles I have read including the pattern unlock.

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Aoshi replied on Fri, Oct 28 2011 12:44 AM

Can you patent anything? I wonder what the rules are. 

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AKwyn replied on Fri, Oct 28 2011 5:12 AM

Manduh:
Why does "Wheatley:" come up when you quote him, instead of OptimusPrimeTime? I've seen it before but was too lazy to ask lol

This article should describe everything that you need to know.

http://half-life.wikia.com/wiki/Wheatley

 

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KreepyK replied on Fri, Oct 28 2011 3:31 PM

Yoy got to have money, lots of it!

The idea that patents exist to protect inventors is a total bullshit. Patents only benefit corporations who can afford to patent every trivial thing they can find.

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mhenriday replied on Sat, Oct 29 2011 7:04 AM

Sad that the political situation in the United States doesn't seem to permit the kind of reform of the USPTO that absurdities like patents of this kind have made mandatory - can't help wondering if anyone has patented the methods used to provide US congressmen and senators, et al, with so-called «campaign contributions». For users who are disgusted by this type of «innovation by legal intervention», one alternative would be to boycott the products and services of its worst practitioners, e g, Apple....

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Just smartphones? Let's move outside tech, for they already seem to have a lot of patents in that space sown up. I'm waiting for when they get to patent oxygen and charge people for breathing. Apple branded oxygen tanks for the win. Call it iBreathe [TM].

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The Technology was being used before Apple came out with the iPhone. So now you should understand why people are furious about it.

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Aoshi replied on Wed, Nov 2 2011 8:55 PM

Yeah it's pretty ridiculous. Scan eyes to unlock? haha

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jonation replied on Thu, Nov 3 2011 10:40 AM

i just patented sitting on chairs. haha now i get royalties from all the chair manufacturers!

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