More trouble for Android, Apple granted Slide to Unlock patent

October 25, 2011
41

Today we have more news regarding some of those Apple patents. This morning after being filed way back in December of 2005, The US Patent & Trademark Office issued a patent grant to Apple regarding their familiar Slide to Unlock gesture. This has actually been officially granted to Apple, no longer is this pending, the deed is done.

We have seen plenty of news regarding Apple and patents already and this could be another major patent that we will be seeing lawsuits stem from in the near future. Apple's lawyers have been busy, especially with Samsung phones and tablets, but things could get a bit more interesting now they've finally been granted a patent on this revolutionary "feature".

Remember, this was a new feature and while unveiling the new iPhone to the world this is what we heard:

To unlock the phone, I just take my finger and slide it across. Wanna see that again? We wanted something you couldn’t do by accident in your pocket. Just slide it across – BOOM.”, Steve Jobs

For now we don't really know what to expect from this grant, or what Apple will do with it but I have a feeling it wont be pretty. Android has a very very similar slide-to-unlock manor now, it's still similar yet slightly changed in Ice Cream Sandwich but I'm not sure that will be enough to save it from a possible lawsuit. The course this will take on Android is unknown, but we will probably be hearing plenty here soon. For more information regarding the patents head to USPTO.gov search engine and look up patent number 7657849.

[via SlashGear]


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  • http://profiles.google.com/drew.dormann Drew Dormann

    As I understand it, Apple’s “slide to unlock” patent specifically covers sliding in a straight line.

    And the arc gestures, puzzle pieces, and other unlock mechanisms that eventually appeared on Android devices were specifically developed to skirt this patent.

    • Streamerman

      Just having a quick scan of said patent.. it seems more complicated than that.

      Patent includes 
      – ANY predefined direction of unlock (“moving comprises movement along any desired path”).
      – Visual cues – sliding images from point A to point B (“results in movement of the unlock image from the first predefined location to a predefined unlock region on the touch-sensitive display”). 
      – Also includes arrows indicating general direction AND text explaining the general direction.

      Seems pretty well covered if you ask me, but I’m no lawyer!

      • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

        yea.. doesn’t look good lol

      • Giorgis 3erolas

        Damn these guys are in trouble … see 4:00 :-)

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-KS2kfIr0

      • Mikeymike_19

        Tell me is there a Patent for using a password to unlock a screen. This stuff is just getting crazy, you should not be able to own a way of doing things like that.

      • http://www.facebook.com/wkd2639 Andrew Simon Jones

        Shouldn’t be able to own rounded corners either….. but Apple appear to have managed it.

      • http://profiles.google.com/mvhtek Matthew Harris

        ICS has facial recognition to unlock.  Add that with a simple pattern of touching up to 9 dots and you’re good.

  • Jei Arc

    Hello everyone, although i am no lawyer (i do work in the IP area) this limitation might be enough for Android to get by “moving an unlock image along a predefined displayed path on the touch-sensitive
    display in accordance with the contact” the keyword being “predefined” as such the user must follow an explicit preset path, for GB and anything before that used the stock version it would be an issue for other unlock methodologies it will not.
    For HC or ICS it will not be an issue since there is no “predefined path” just my $0.02

  • http://www.facebook.com/nativex Dalton Rc

    Every time you look at your freakin’ iPhone, Apple will own you and get Paid for it! hahaha Ka-Chin!$

  • http://www.facebook.com/wkd2639 Andrew Simon Jones

    I’ll just leave here this phone that had slide to unlock before the iPhone was even released.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-KS2kfIr0

    • Anonymous

      Well what do you know, I was just about to do the same ” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-KS2kfIr0” oops dropped something… Ever wonder if neonode was ever bought out by apple? Obviously they could of get some serious legal fees.

    • http://twitter.com/BIGELLOW Bob Bigellow

      Yep… this patent will be tossed out due to prior art. The only people who will get rich from this are lawyers.

  • Anonymous

    Why worry about these patents? Its not gonna affect us anytime soon. Until I see the price of android devices skyrocket, im not going to think about it. There’s always a loop hole, now its just a matter of finding it.

    Remember, the wording has to coincide with the image. Certain lock screens obviously fall in this category and Apple will have the right to sue on this one sheathed we like it or not. Other lockscreens by pass this completely. Quick updates fix this.

    Google needs to get serious about patents. ASAP.

  • http://twitter.com/xavierdylan Dylan Xavier

    dont worry just watch this video of the neonode n1m released months before apple applied for the patent of swipe to unlock. This may be used to invalidate apples patent. it was succesfully used in the dutch court.Neonode N1m
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-KS2kfIr0

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      Apple filed for the patent in December of 2005.. well before they announced the iPhone..

      whether that little phone you linked to (gross) was made 2 years before or not idk.

  • Lindsay Reid

    I had a cupboard back in the 1960’s that had a sliding thing to unlock the bolt. That used a “pre-defined path”. This is simply a computer version of the same thing. The patent offices are just barking mad.

    I thought that patents were to protect innovative intellectual property not to grant patents for re-inventing the wheel – or the bolt – or a rectangular screen ……. or a computer version of something the already existed.

  • Eddyddr

    “2004 Neonode launched the N1, worlds first finger based mobile phone. The N1 is based on zForce. For the first time consumers can now fully control a mobile phone with their fingers using gestures, taps and sweeps.”

  • Anonymous

    Stop the BS already icecream is here with facial recognition, we don’t need that old unlock technique & besides they stole the androids notification bar, do they’re even, our did apple have this in patent pending before installing on iphone? Here is a sweet link that shows apple’s technique if stealing ideas & steve explaining his theory on stealing & building on i.p. Use this in court hello? Brains google! ” http://androidandme.com/2011/06/news/is-this-real-life-apple-copies-androids-notification-system-and-lock-screen/” also I forgot the name of the touch screen phone that was eels years before the iphone & out had slide to unlock with the same gesture. Besides copying androids notifications they copied some unlock features, what was known as evolving is now some billion dollar company crying he copied me, like a little girl steve even allowed his feelings to get into business, talking about nuclear war, stupid man should of said worth apples forty billion dollars at my disposal I’ll donate a couple of billions to cure cancer, stupidity is contagious.no more sliding to wipe cause

    • Geri Peak

      @JayQ330:disqus : That’s a lot of woman hating and whining coming from someone complaining about whiners.  Stick to the facts  Your emotional, name-calling feels just as childish as Apples antics and weakens your argument, which I agree with. I shouldn’t have to school you for putting the truth out there.  Don’t insult the women– both tech-geeks and regular Jill’s– who get the value of Android.  Be more accurate in your discriptions, or get creative in a way that is not insulting.  As to your final reference, the people working to put things back in order are both male and female, but the folks on wall street who got us in this mess — primarily male.

      Proud female Android users since day 1, G1.

      • Anonymous

        I have a G1 also, yeah I was caught up in the moment. I apologize to any candles offended by my words.

  • Anonymous

    Google just take siri away from them & do just to see them start winning to a judge.

    • Anonymous

      how exactly would google take siri away from them?

    • http://www.facebook.com/tariq2305 Tariq Mohammad

      hhahaha i laugh almost 5 mins… are you sick ? How siri is related to Google and do let me know how they can take away.. lolz… you are so funny :P

      • Anonymous

        I think he’s insinuating that Google has a patent on voice recognition tech since Android had it long before Siri came out (not quite the same, but very similar).  I don’t believe Google actually has that patent…

      • Anonymous

        google does have the patent, especially the fact that it searches the internet fot the most accurate & natural response. Ever since search & google voice *you can haver your phone call anyone in your phone book & ask it to order pizza from your favorite pizza shop & much more just by talking to it naturally as you would to a person, the only thing apple did was have it speak with a female voice instead of just text on the screen which google had been doing for years with activating the read screen text option* they’ve been using this technique, it helps with accents & more natural responses. It’s already been thought to take this to court. You must be an apple fan, ill informed & doesn’t look at the facts just good apple rumors, right? I laughed for ten minutes at how little you know about siri yet you act as if apple invented this or sprinkled unicorn tears to make it magically work

  • Anhhai

    I wonder why Android won’t hit Apple back with the recent inclusion of pull down notifications implemented in iOS5? Guys?

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      agreed!

    • Postal Jim

      It’s Ok for Apple to do whatever it wants. Steve probably gave iPads and iPhones to everyone at the patent office for Christmas and birthdays not to mention several Congressional committees, too! lol

    • Anonymous

      Because Google doesn’t have patents for those things…on the other hand, apple has the patents for the features it is suing google for…

      • Anonymous

        and why not?  They should…  I’d patent anything since Apple is playing that game.  Sometimes you gotta fight fire with fire…

        I was showing iOS 5 to my bro and his gf and they asked if I’d put Android on my iPod Touch. Haha… Yep, Apple copies Android even while suing Android device manufacturers for doing the same…

      • Anonymous

        It sucks but it’s true, just like linux, android is free & open sourced, which means free to be chief & improved on. But! Google has a solution it’s called ICS, aka android 4.0 icecream.this version is more like iOS as in patented, closed & adjusts to any size screens & resolution without having to make specially sized apps for each device plus with the face to unlock we might be able to have different desktop’s depending on your face expression or code/password. Even the circle unlock can be made or updated to support shapes instead of just pulling out of circle, for example a star would take you to your regular desktop,a sad face to your work desktop & so on.it’s much more flexible than what apple if still fighting to keep, fighting for something nobody wants anymore is a funny way to still feel important :-) apple your stuck in the past & as in steers video started “is copying time” that was my wording but still if what he meant.

  • Giorgis 3erolas

    I think this company should be worried as it had the a slide to unlock. Check at 4:00 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-KS2kfIr0

    Oh … it came out about 5 years before the iphone, but that should not save it :-)

    • Anonymous

      Holy crap, you’re right! These guys are the ones that should have gotten the patent…not apple, the company that applied for the patent…No…no no…this is the company that changed the landscape for mobile phones and summoned a league of competing devices…yes, the iPhone is clearly a direct copy of this phone…
      Now that I’m done with the sarcasm, I will say that I’m glad I don’t look through the tinted shades some fanboys wear…

      • Anonymous

        Uhm what? You shouldn’t get patents because you’re super awesome, but because you invented something. Cleary, Apple didn’t.

  • http://www.cnx-software.com Linux Penguin

    I thought they did not grant patent for something trivial.

    • Guest

      … and the inventor of the bolt lies sad in his grave.

  • http://twitter.com/JaytonGarnett Jayton Garnett

    Read the patent before listening to the trolls. Seems most, if not all, Android devices are actually exempt from this due to the technical wording of the patent and certain objects/events need to be there/occur. The only way you’ll get sued is if you pretty much mimic the iOS unlock screen.

  • http://www.ttconsultants.co.in Post Grant Patent

    Rumors were there that they are going to file a patent for Peek-a-boo unlock too. This is now not heard anywhere.

  • Daniel Jones

    Oh no what ever will android do? patent their 9-pin gesture homescreen? FTW!!!

  • Anonymous

    what do you mean ICS is similar? Afaik they use pattern matching or the new face unlock (that can be easioy cheated with a photograph-lol. Not even honeycomb has slide to unlock, at least my iteration…
    m

  • Anonymous

    Edit option is giving me an error so I canter fix my wrong words because I use swype & it sometimes “predicts the wrong word, “as in steers video started” really meant *as in Steve’s stated*