Apple wins injunction hearing on Motorola slide-to-unlock in Germany

Judge Dr. Peter Guntz of the Munich Regional Court has ruled in Apple’s favor, granting the Cupertino-based company a permanent injunction against Motorola’s implementation of slide-to-unlock in their smartphones. Judge Guntz agreed with Apple’s claims that the Moto’s UI element infringed upon patent EP1964022, which awards the slide-to-unlock software element to the maker of the iPhone and iPad. The injunction could lead to a ban of certain Motorola devices in Germany.

While the victory is a big one for Apple, it wasn’t a flawless victory. The company filed three complaints, but only two pertaining to smartphones ended with rulings in their favor. The third dealt with the Motorola XOOM tablet, which was ruled to fall outside of the realm of the patent. Samsung is currently facing similar litigation over alleged infringements of Apple’s slide-to-unlock patent. With today’s decision things aren’t looking much brighter for the mobile maker out of Korea.

[via FOSS Patents]

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  • Kaostheory

    I still like the arc action to unlock that was originally on the SE X10. Why they copied apples less natural slide to unlock is beyond me.

    • Mark Seven

      Guess they thought it was generic

    • thedicemaster

      i liked the spin to unlock lockscreen in widget locker(i don’t know if they copied it from somewhere)
      you have half of an old style phone dial you had to spin right for unlocking, and left for silent mode.

      though lately i’ve been using my phone without lockscreen since the power button is hard enough to hit by accident.

      • ChavaM

        CM7 has the rotary unlock screen, I don’t know where it originated though.

        • Kevin Haller

          It was used in the Moto Droid with 2.0 when it was first released. Then when 2.1 came out they upgraded it to slide straight horizontally .

  • Nemesys06

    I don’t see how apple can get the slide to unlock patent. Maybe the look/design but just sliding in general, that is something you cannot patent. All the patents that apple infringes on the courts say they can’t ban because it is so widely used, like the 3g patents motorola won against apple. all motorola can do is collect royalties for it, they cannot ban. This is the same, there is some form of slide to unlock on every smart phone. Even then, if it looks different than apple’s, with a different layout the case shouldn’t even make it to court

    • Scott Tompkins

       Agreed… these types of patents should not have been awarded, and I think it’s just a symptom of the fossils in the patent office often time don’t fully understand what they’re awarding a patent for. These types of software patents being awarded in the mobile space are the equivalent of if Google had decided early on that they should patent the use of a search box on a web page… it’s pathetic.

    • tomn1ce

      The funny thing is that crapple doesn’t want to pay Moto for the patent that they were guilty of infringing on…That would be a BIG check…

  • Dennis

    Are you fucking kidding me… ¬¬ FUCK APPLE!!!

  • shooter50

    Apparently Tim Cook is just as big an ass a Jobs was for continuing these boring useless lawsuits. No wonder thinking people hate Apple.

    • JulianZHuang

      if i granted a patent, i will definitely use it to gain come extra cash.  

      • Jason Farrell

        Hah. A regular chinese gordon gecko.
        Julian Zhuang was also overhead saying: “if i could get away with putting lead in my toofpaste, i will definitely gain some extra cash!”

        Please think of the bigger picture.

        • JulianZHuang

          actually my business professor taught us that “as long as you dont get caught, it’s a go.” 

          • Kyle Feaster

            And that is why I’m losing faith in humanity.  

          • Charlie T

            yes because everything businessmen do is right.

            That was sarcasm, by the way.

          • WickedToby741

            Glad to see that your business professor was teaching you proper ethics. Even more happy you’ve been listening. /sarcasm

  • Aeires

    The Xoom is on Honeycomb so it looks like the judge felt the round, choose any direction to unlock feature was different enough from Apple’s one direction slide.  If that’s true, it’s big for Android because it’s an easy fix to get around the patent.  I’d say Apple’s victory here is rather small and shallow considering.

    • Todd

      Maybe this will lead to a faster deployment of ICS to Motorola devices since I believe they are just using a modified version of the stock ICS lockscreen when they skin things with not-Blur.

    • Scotsman of Loch Ness

       most of the manufacturers should have switched to this as soon as rumors about Apple’s patent finally being up for review.

    • WickedToby741

      I’d say this is more of a loss for Apple. Basically, it means that Apple can seek a ban on Gingerbread and older devices, which should be a dying breed. ICS and newer should technically be exempt if Honeycomb passed the test.

  • polarbehr76

    i drag to unlock

  • Dimitri Perrakis

    I found this in the comments of another phandroid article:

  • schitzengigles10

    Implement the Atrix’s fingerprint scanner more then Motorola! Apple’s got nothing on that, unless they pull a patent out of their asses claiming they invented fingerprints

    • proph

      don’t give them ideas.

  • androidica

    This is a small win it just needs a software fix to workaround it. All Google or other manufacturers needs to do is implement another option to the any direction to unlock feature on Android, so it gives you the option to also enter your pin.Then the stupid slide to unlock “Patent” becomes the most useless patent for Apple.

  • androidica

    Why has Germany become the Patent War ground for the most part? What significance will it have on other courts.

    • Adnoxaei

      It’s an important 1st world nation and seems to have just as many issues as the US. If they can win in Germany it may sway other countries to follow along.

  • ingua2

    sad times when standard UI elements can be patented.   Further proof patents are useless when any troll can buy a patent for anything.   Apple isn’t winning on the innovation front anymore.  They’re winning solely on patent trolling.

  • max

    My great great great grandfather took a bite an an apple and invented the apple logo, does this mean our family can now ask licensing fees from Apple, the point of this story is just how ridiculous Apple is being and how retarded German courts are.

  • Muscle Bud

    Another wasted money from the fruit company, but this does not hurt Google/Motorola’s bottom line since it is only a simple fix…

  • Keith Boykin

    I wonder why Apple didn’t think to sue Microsoft when the exact same thing was used on the Touch Pro, Touch Pro 2 phones running Windows 6.0 and 6.5?  Scared

  • DanWazz

    If the 4 way locker on some of their phone’s ICS ROMS is in blur, I don’t see that this is that big a deal.

  • TheScientists

    Interesting read about Apple’s big patent-trolling partner: 

  • fredphoesh

    INSANE. How obvious can one get. Surely you cannot patent something so basic. On a touch screen this action is as primary as pressing a button.

  • Darktanone

    Apple is chipping away at Android a little at a time until it kills it. I think they’ll eventually win.

    • WickedToby741

      They got the ban on Gingerbread devices. The Xoom was ruled as not infringing on the patent, and the Xoom runs Honeycomb. What this means is that at least according to this judge, the Honeycomb and ICS lockscreens don’t infringe. They key thing here is that these patents are sort of like Apple’s last legs to stand on regarding Android. Android has surpassed iOS in innovation and I doubt we’ll see Apple getting many more really crucial patents as most of the innovation will be coming from Android.

      • Darktanone

        These small wins by Apple is forcing Android device manufacturers to remove the infringing features or find workarounds. This is working in Apple’s favor to create product distinction. In the future, it will discourage them from using Apple’s inventions and to come up with their own ideas. We’ll see how much of Google’s innovation is left in Android when Apple is done!

  • Andrew Brown

    This just makes me mad. But since I could rant and rave all day and it won’t change the retarded US patent system, I’ll just simply say thanks USPTO! For making the tech world suck!

  • tomn1ce

    That must be why my OG Droid won’t unlock….I can’t unlock it because apple won… I do prefer my face unlock on my VZW G-Nexus…Every time I unlock my phone and there’s people around they ask what did you just do. I just tell them I just unlocked my phone without having to in put any password… :o)

  • Motorola Atrix

    Apple is so ridiculous. Google should wake up and play that same ridiculous patent game as Apple. How was Apple able to add “Notification Centre” or patent something like “Face Unlock” is BEYOND ME!!