Apple Wins Patent On “Slide to Unlock” – Are Android OEM’s In Trouble?


Well, this could open up a whole new can of worms for Android and her manufacturers. Today, Apple successfully secured patent number 7657849, otherwise known as their famous “Slide to Unlock” feature found on iOS devices. Apple actually applied for the patent back in December of 2005 and after 6 years, the United States Patent and Trademark Office finally gave Apple their dues and in the process — more ammunition for future lawsuits. So what exactly does the patent entail? Well, here’s and image from the USTPO filing followed by a “brief” description:

“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. In addition, there is a need for sensory feedback to the user regarding progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition that is required for the transition to occur.”

Yup. Sounds like just about any gesture to unlock a touchscreen device is just about in violation of this patent. Seems all we can do now is wait to hear from Apple lawyers who are no doubt already filing the paperwork. While we’re not all doom and gloom around here you never know — maybe this will push Android OEM’s to update to Android 4.0 and take advantage of ICS’s new Face to Unlock, right?

[9to5Mac via A&M]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Will this affect unlock screens like the Sense 3.0, Honeycomb, or ICS lockscreens?

    1. No Google will just have to pay Apple to continue to use the patent

      1. It probably doesn’t apply for two reasons:
        1 On ICS there is no defined path
        2 Its a damn silly patent

        1. Let’s hope so.

        2. Yeah but it is a “predefined location” (patent is path OR location)

      2. Only if Apple allow them to license it, which is very unlikely given the current air of litigation but… and its a big BUT this patent is totally invalid. Just because the US patent office does a terrible job and hands out patents willy-nilly (lovely expression) doesn’t mean that it will stand when challenged in court.

        This has just been approved in the US so is unchallenged there but as another poster pointed out it has already been invalidated in the Netherlands and you can expect the same prior art and defence to be used if Apple pull it out of their patent war-chest.

        1. Patents are usually more specific than that honestly, at least when it comes to physical, mechanical things. Software patents are probably very nebulous. At any rate, IF this patent is this vague, and IF they take this higher it wold likely be invalidated. Because, ANY slide to unlock mechanism is a violation- despite the fact that it would be an enhancement to the consumer and would likely put other companies at risk of competition if only Apple were allowed to use it. I think this would come down to obviousness. To me, it is pretty darn obvious if you’re using a touch screen that sliding your finger/stylus would be a way to activate it.

      3. If you haven’t noticed, Apple has never sued Google, and Steve Jobs never wanted patent troll money like Microsoft. He wanted to shut Android down. Apple will never take licensing money for Android because they are afraid of a Windows/Mac repeat (which is already happening). They go ofter OEMs. So YES, this will affect HTC unlock screens. And for Honeycomb, they will sue OEMs as well. ICS has facial unlock, so if Google wants they can just pull gesture unlocking altogether.

        1. They sue OEMs because they can’t sue Google because Android is open source and Google doesn’t make money off of Android. So they can go after the OEMs that are making money off of the software that infringes on the patents. The main one I can think of is HTC. They already hit Samsung pretty bad now it seems to be HTC’s turn. Who knows how they will try and get Motorola, if they can. (I’m sure they will find a way)

  2. How can this be a patent? How else are you going to unlock the damn screen?

    1. What do you mean how else would you unlock the screen??? A bezel button? A password? Further, the Apple patent requires you to move a UI “object” along a predefined path. Maybe the unlock input is simply a swipe along a path, wherein no UI object actually moves. Maybe the user touches one or more predefined points on the screen in a particular pattern. Maybe the user just taps the phone screen at a single location for a selected number of times. That’s what I came up with in about 30 seconds. There are numerous ways to invent around this claim. And because of that no one should be upset about this patent.

      1. THANK YOU. At least someone gets that it would have to be EXACTLY as it is described to infringe. ICS definitely does away with this, as does almost every other implementation of “unlocking” that Android does. These patents are completely obnoxious, but at least this particular one isn’t ridiculously broad; which is pretty common for the USPTO to approve.

        1. Could you please tell me how ICS is not “moving the unlock image to a predefined location”? Because that’s exactly what it is. It even has visual cues and sensory (visual) feedback.

          I trained as a lawyer and studied intellectual property. Android’s in a bit of trouble here.

          What I predict:

          1. You’re about to android’s pattern and face unlock become the only methods

          2. More devices with fingerprint unlock.

          3. Some kind of multi-touch gesture, like touching two separate boxes simultaneously. This would be cool.

          I’m hoping Google will really innovate something here!

          1. I don’t know what ICS’s lock screen looks like, but my Droid OG’s lock screen (where you draw a pattern between the dots) wouldn’t infringe this claim because it doesn’t involve moving an image around to a predefined location.

            If you trained as a lawyer and studied IP law, then you should realize that Apple’s claims in this patent are incredibly narrow and do not cover all unlocking screens as alluded to by the author of this post.

            As a patent attorney, I get so frustrated with these patent-related stories. The author invariably gets the whole thing wrong, using citing the patent’s broadly-written abstract as somehow representing the scope of legal rights the patent owner has obtained rather than looking at what the claims section actually says. Then everyone starts screaming bloody murder about how the US patent system is broke. Those people are misinformed idiots that don’t have the faintest clue how the patent system works.

  3. Really?!?! boy oh boy do I sure hope my patent on breathing comes through soon then I’ll be rolling in dough

    1. I wish I could like this 10 billion times!

    2. Yeah is funny except you breathe thru your rear.

    3. LOL made my morning

    4. Honestly I hate Apple & their products, but they were the ones who got the ball rolling with “smartphone”s, & Google obviously stole the idea “slide to unlock” from them.

      1. Hey dimwit the slide lock was on another phone before the iphone. Did you even read the article?

      2. Slide to unlock def was on all the windows based phones before iPhone and Android even came to the US. I myself am a Macbook “USER” and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Now as far as phones, Android def is better then IOS which limits your freedom to a sense. Apple just gets its way because they cry after stealing ideas and now with Jobs dead people feel sorry for them. I remember when apple was big back in the early 90s and then crashed because there was actual competition. That’s their problem whenever there is real competition they fold or cry foul soooooooooooooo much the courts just give them the favor. Funny how they file a patent yrs after someone else came up with the idea and get it, but lie about Samsung and their product dimensions in court case documents as well. I’m just saying think about folks.

        1. slide to unlock was not on ‘every windows based phone’ before iPhone, cause I had a winmo phone, and well, it didn’t have a lock image. you push the button on top, and it was unlocked.

          anyway, I don’t think the android version would violate the apple slide to unlock, mainly because on the iphone you have to move very precisely, I sometimes had to try like 5 times to get it to unlock by moving my thumb very precisely along the unlock area. my android works so long as I swipe my finger to the right starting on the unlock icon. never had it not unlock on me because I wasn’t precise enough.

      3. Just an FYI for you, there isn’t a single feature in the iPhone that Apple invented. Simply ones that they made better, popular, and patented.

        The USPTO really needs to stop with granting patents that are so damn broad. This should ONLY cover that “slide right to unlock” thats actually on the iPhone. What Android has with the pattern unlock, Sense 3.0, Honeycomb and even ICS all fall under this patent even though Apple has never used (specifically) what Android does, but now they can sue them for it? Thats complete and utter bull shit and Google needs to appeal that shit.

    5. This is the US Patent Office. We are happy to inform you that we have approved your patent on “The inhalation of oxygen for use in cellular respiration” for the United States. In two days time we plan to drop tear gas on the entire US population. We have sent you a complimentary gas mask via USPS. I’m sure it will get there in time.

  4. Isn’t this the same patent that the Netherland’s judge (or was it Germany) ruled invalid as it had prior art except for the graphic which was obvious?

  5. I would actually prefer no lock screen at all like good old Windows mobile.

    1. I think there is an app for that. =)

    2. There’s one on there. You hit the unlock button and then it moves and u hit it in the new spot

    3. Pocket dial!!

  6. I’m no patent expert, but I would assume Android could get around this by unlock where you drag the icon outside of a bubble or circle. Then it’s no longer on a pre-defined path. Maybe Google should patent “Moving an icon in any direction for any duration whether or not it changes icons to unlock a device”…

    1. That’s Moving the Image to a Predefined location (Outside Circle) Violates Patent

      1. Moving it outside a circle does not violate the patent because there is no predifined path.. try again..

        1. include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/OR…. predefined Path

          Thanks for playing

          1. “there is a NEED for sensory feedback to the user regarding progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition that is required for the transition to occur.” in other words heptic feedback. There is no heptic feedback on the unlock gesture for Honeycomb.

            Your turn

          2. 5 senses. The VISUAL element moving along with your finger is providing you sensory feedback of your progress.

            Unfortunately this patent is just some broad bullshit. Glad someone had already done this making it invalid.

  7. “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 patent says “predefined” twice. I think that the android manufacturers will try and go after that because there is not a predefined path that the user has to unlock their screen. Look at honeycomb on tablets for example. To unlock the screen, the user has to move the smaller circle in any direction they want outside of the bigger circle to unlock it. That’s what i think unless I interpreted incorrectly…who knows, maybe Tim Cook isn’t as patent crazy as Job’s used to be and wont sue everyone for “copying” lol..

    1. That is a GREAT point! OEMs attorneys – ARE YOU READING THIS???

      YOU SHOULD BE!!!

    2. Exactly what I was thinking.
      Also, using touchwiz, if the phone has no security, you just swipe the image any direction.

    3. Unfortunately the patent would cover this also. You are moving the inner circle to a predefined location. That location being the outside of the larger circle.

      1. Outside of an area wouldn’t be a location. Remember, you are looking at legal terminology. If it is subjective it can easily be twisted. A location is determinable and objective. This does not say a predefined area.

        1. I agree but consider that it is software. A computer only understands what is written in its code. So technically wouldn’t that be a “predetermined location” since we essentially told the computer what area the finger can move in? And they are all predetermined locations according to the computer. If I touch anywhere else, nothing happens.

          I’m just thinking.

          Man I should’ve taken up patent law. How money could I make?? geez.

    4. They didn’t sue yet, relax!! Apple would go for the heptec feed back portion of the patent if anything.

  8. This will most likely get invalidated, as the Dutch judge wasn’t sure this slide to unlock patent in Europe was valid. Neonode N1m in 2005 had this feature.

    1. Problem is, the prior art in the Dutch case was a prior use in Sweden which occurred earlier in the same year. Section 102 of the US Patent Code states (amongst other things) that a person is entitled to a patent unless:

      the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country, more than one year prior to the date of the application for patent in the United States

      There are therefore two reasons why the Dutch decision is irrelevant in the US. Firstly, because the Swedish use was not use ‘in this (i.e. US) country’. Second because it was less than a year before the US filing (assuming Apple had already invented by that stage).

      As others have pointed out, the claims of the patent are not as broad as the brief description in the abstract. As I read it, there needs to be a specific path predefined and displayed on the screen, and the ‘slide to unlock’ is performed by tracing (i.e. dragging the unlock icon) along the displayed path.

      This does not cover the ‘concentric circles’ feature of Honeycomb. Nor does it cover the ‘secret pattern’ security feature, in which the whole point is that the correct path is not displayed.

      So this is one Apple patent with which Samsung (and other Android OEM’s) probably need not be too concerned.


      DIsclaimer: yes, I am a patent attorney, but Australian not US, and in any event this is not legal advice!

      1. Thanks for reading more of it than the rest of us. That is good news. I’m not sure the Froyo/GB lockscreen even violates that…it’s at least arguable, as there is no path actually displayed, just an indication of where you should drag the little bar to.

      2. Nice to hear from a pro for a change.

        Thanks a million Mark and please continue to offer your counsel. There is a lot of bias out there at the moment. I don’t trust Mueller for example.

  9. What a ridiculous patent to be granted. It’s extremely general and attempts to cover any and all kinds of variations. Ironically, the one and only specific detail the proposed patent covers, “predefined gesture” is Androids saving grace.

    To me, the Honeycomb unlock screen does not violate this patent, as there is no “predefined gesture”. The user can move from the center of the circle to any location outside, using any path, or random gesture.

    Additionaly, the term “gesture” can also be open to interpretation.

    1. Something tells me that’s why they changed it to that. Before Honeycomb, you had to slide finger across the screen in a predetermined area/motion to unlock the screen. Basically, on any Android phone that is out now.

    2. Well actually its predefined that you have to move from the middle of the circle to a point outside of the circle. I could see it being argued both ways. Theres an infinite amount of points outside the circle so the point is not predefined. However the minimum distance you must move is predefined.

      Basically the patent COULD cover any sort of sliding motion to unlock whatsoever.

  10. US patent system is a joke…I wonder if I can patent the way I hold my phone using my foot while making a phone call…Spit in your face US patent

  11. Screw apple, I run custom roms. Apple can’t possibly get all those third party devs.

  12. Run for the hills!

  13. Google needs to apply for the face unlock patent

    1. They would be crazy if they didn’t.

      1. Yea…good luck. Im sure the US Govt has been doing this for years. Too vague!

        1. Apple didn’t patent slide-to-unlock, they patented slide-to-unlock on a touch sensitive device. Face unlock on a touch sensitive phone may be sorta vague, but has the US Govt been unlocking their phones this way for years?

    2. That’s just it Android is open source and Google doesn’t patent every dumb thing like Apple. For example drop down notifications.

  14. I, the ghost of Steve Jobs, require all bathroom stalls to also comply with this patent!

  15. Seriously apple? Really? Ok then. Guess every android phone will have to come with press home button to unlock. But there are so many unlock apps that manufacturers will just have to leave a note in the box to download their favourite one! Another reason I hate apple! !! Telling me what I can and can’t have.

  16. Apple is absurd. Google needs to hurry up and patent the drop down notification bar before Apple patents that as well.

    1. LOL I take it you have never created anything you needed to protect. I know crazy of Apple to do this and too bad Android hasn’t.
      You cant blame Apple.

      1. Except they didn’t create it – others had slide to unlock before them, they were just first to the patent office with it. One instance of this was used to deny the patent to Apple in Sweden because another company had used it prior to the iPhone launch.

      2. apple didn’t create most of what they patent. Iphone name came from cisco. Come on man you can’t be that much of a blind fanboy.

        1. Yes sadly he is at the head of douche fan boy lists.

        2. Cisco sued and Apple paid, and didn’t bitch like Android fans.

          1. Nobody is bitching it is just funny apple tries to patent everything and sue and all the clueless fanboys like you are fine with it then when android oems sue you and the apple sheep cry. Hypocrite much?

          2. Android fans complain because Apple literally claims to have invented all these features in their commercials. Have you seen the iOS5 preview? Almost every feature was stolen they highlighted, and they say “we invented a new way to…” about all of them. Then they launch patent wars like this. And to top it off, Apple fanboys say they’ve done nothing wrong. Most Apple fanboys don’t even know Apple lost to Cisco. My friend who works there swears Android stole the slider bar from jailbroken iPhones, when it was shipped with the original Android.

        3. Just saying, not every single Android fan bitches, but the collective web seem to be bitching. Don’t bitch man, if you are man enough to copy. You android fans wants to bend the law in your favour if you don’t see fit. Is funny.

          1. And apple doesn’t? Man you are dilusional, must be sucking on the apple teet a little much. I don’t want the law bent anyway these lame ass patents should never even be considered. But hey its apple and they will cry if they don’t get their patents even though devices clearly had this before the iPhone. Just like all touch screen apple wasn’t first then either yet they sue like they feel they have all rights to that. Maybe next time your troll attempts will work or should I say your bitching as you say most “fanboys” do.

        4. ok so you are now saying Apple is doing the same things you guys are doing, so then why bitch?! HHAHA

          1. What did android try and patent? I forgot Google and their oems are starting all the lawsuits. Oh that’s right that’s apple right there. Later troll:) if you love apple why are you on an android site? Must be bored with ios5 and everything it ripped off from android.

        5. I’m here to right some wrongs Android has been committing lately. ; )

      3. Seek help.

    2. fo sho man talk about stealing!!!!

    3. I think drop down notification appeared on an iOS device first, on a jailbroken one in Cyndia store.

      1. well I’m sure you meant “Cydia” and I don’t think so, I was an iPhone user before and had my iphone jailbroken from day one and tested almost everything never saw such a thing, even if that’s true and Apple patents that I think the developer can sue the shit out of Apple.

      2. iOS jailbreakers took it from the Android platform.

    4. Funny you mention that.
      Microsoft already has a patent on the notification bar :(

  17. Notice that the patent says: “In addition, there is a need for sensory feedback to the user regarding progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition that is required for the transition to occur.”

    Prior statements said “may be” or “may include,” but this uses the word “need” in relation to haptic feedback. This statement makes haptic feedback a requirement of the system covered by this patent.

    Take the haptic feedback out of the android (or other) unlock screens and the patent no longer applies.

    1. Sensory feedback does not necessarily mean haptic feedback. Visual cues are also sensory feedback.

  18. I love it!
    All the Android fanboys are crying per usual.
    Google would have done the same if they could.
    This will make for GREAT ENTERTAINMENT to say the least.

    1. Seriously. Don’t you have anything else better to do than to troll?

      I know your cult requires you to stalk Android users, but you might want to get some help before your soul is totally taken.

      1. I don’t use the iPhone. I have been an Android user since the G 1

    2. The thing is Google would be kind enough to leave patients like these alone if they ran into people using them.. Whereas Apple is doing it because android makes them shake in their boots and so they can try and take out the competition.

    3. Obvious troll is obvious.

      1. Your lack of originality isn’t going to get you +1’s

    4. They can. You don’t think they couldn’t have put patents on drop down notifications? Found a twist on mobile search to patent? Patented something on mobile maps? The mobile desktop paradigm with icons and widgets?

      Google is a company of geeks that understand the proper use of patents. Apple is a hardware company dabbling in software that patents anything they possibly can because its new for them. And PLEASE don’t try to argue that they’re a software company behind OS X. You’ll get blown out of the water everytime.

      1. I will? I hope she’s hot!

  19. Apple also patented “turn knob to open” watch out door lovers!

    Side note: swift key suggested “patent” as the next word after I typed Apple

    1. HAHA!!

      Mine were: those Mother F^$&@%#

    2. except android didn’t copy that one.

    3. That is hilarious.

    4. Please tell me that it true. Please.

  20. Just another reason apple will never see another penny of my money. I bought a iPhone 3g years ago until I wised up and found a better phone system Android

  21. All of a sudden the fingerprint scanner on the Atrix seems every so much more attractive

  22. Patent system is a f@#%ing joke

    1. I think so too, if it wasn’t for the patent office, I would have cut out Apple and went straight to Foxconn and ask them to manufacture the exact iPhone for me to sell at whole sale prices. Damn the patent office!

      1. this patent is basically for unlocking a touchscreen device via the touchscreen. not only is this blatantly obvious design for any touchscreen device, but apple weren’t even the first to do it. they were just the first to the patent office. this would be the same as if google ran to the patent office a year ago to lock down voice commands to a handheld device. would that have been an acceptable patent to have awarded too?

  23. Google, thing to patent: “Sync data/information between a mobile device and services in the cloud”. Done!

  24. So not only does Android violate this bullshit patent, so does every WP7 device and Zune device. Luckily though, it sounds like the Honeycomb/Ice Cream Sandwich unlock screen is pretty safe since there could theoretically be an unlimited number of ways you could unlock it.

    1. What’s funny is that My i-mate JASJAR Windows Mobile 6 phone had slide to unlock back in 2006.

      1. Well, they filed for the patent in 2005. :)


  26. Enable pattern lock

    1. Violates the patent. its a “Predefined Gesture” used to unlock the device. Which is Patented.. by Apple!

      1. Not predefined by the vendor.

        1. But Predefined in general, the patent text never says who its predefined by. I may be wrong but ya know… apple will try

  27. This patent (along with 3 others) was found to be INVALID in a Dutch court of law on the Apple vs. Samsung case. There is prior art that INVALIDATES this patent. Yet one more time that Apple “was shamless in stealing great ideas”. For details see here:

    1. so it’s invalid there. it was JUST granted here. not the same patent system. not the same rules. watch while america *#$%s up everything… again.

  28. To the author of the article: you posted a description of the patent, maybe from the “abstract” section of the patent, but that is not the part of the patent that is enforceable.
    The enforceable part of the patent is the claims, and each of the independent claims require “moving an unlock image along a predefined displayed path.” That means an unlock image that isn’t moving along a predefined displayed path would not infringe this patent. One example off the top of my head is the unlock image of an HP Touchpad, where movement in any direction unlocks the tablet.

  29. Good luck with the court battles, I doubt the latest patent would do much damage, save for HTC sense as they use slide to unlock if I recall.

  30. Next thing crapple patents sleep, eat, and breath.. We are all in trouble.

  31. Wonder if the door handle was ever patented? How else do you open a door?

  32. Its a stupid patent. Apple won’t license if the patent us upheld anyway since they want to stop android rather than make money from it like Microsoft (Apple have plenty of spare cash).

    Its not exactly an “innovation”. People have been “sliding to unlock” things for thousands of years. Apple just put this on touchscreen, (i don’t think they were the first at it either). The predetermined clause might get android out of changing lock or paying royalty, but then again isn’t moving the unlock thing on honeycomb classed as moving to a predetermined location? I.e. outside the circle.

    Btw, it goes to show how ridiculously companies apply for patents in as broad as way as possible, by reading the patent, looks like even HTC infringes this patent, but comparing both unlock screens and they look completely different. The most ridiculous thing is patents like these are being awarded to companies. (I’m not just referring to Apple either)

    Anyway, I highly doubt this patent would stand in a court of law when it comes to it.

  33. Fxckn apple man… they need to stop with this.. lol they lack innavation

  34. Chris, I truly wish you’d at least do some research before propagating the garbage of James Kendrick. This patent is INVALID and has already been INVALIDATED in a Dutch court. There is prior art.

      1. This patent has to cover their specific mechanism of sliding to unlock if anything. Using gestures to interact with a touch screen phone is kinda obvious.

  35. What I don’t understand is that you filed for the patent 6 years ago and got it now. Now they can backtrack and sue others who made anything similar to that during that 6 years and some upcoming products that could have been in the pipeline for a few years already?? So, once someone files for a patent for something, then others shouldn’t make anything that could possibly violate if and when it actually becomes a patent without knowing that they would actually be granted for it? Or just go ahead and make something but get sued once the patented is granted?
    I mean Is this really the situation??
    This can’t be… I must be wrong about this.

  36. How can they be so specific to about the pattern? IPhones slide in a straight line. How can they include every type of unlocking movement??

  37. Jesus. I rooted the fuck out of my android cause I hate slide to unlock. This is androids turn to step it up and give us grip to unlock, or wave to unlock, or fucking god knows what else to unlock. Let me press my erection against the phone.

    1. Yeah you are now getting facial detection to unlock lol. Becareful what you wish for.

    2. You could probably get Erection to unlock if you save your erection for the facial unlock feature… just a thought. Though god forbid you need your phone and you’re stuck in a room with a few fat chicks that want to get it on.

    3. ‘There’s an app for that.’

    4. Grip to unlock would be interesting but how would that be secured? or even work for that matter?

    5. If you use your erection to unlock your phone, might wanna try “Head Unlock”, it’s a derivative from ICS’s “Face Unlock”, although it would be an exclusive feature for guys.

  38. Oh crap.

  39. Samsung isn’t in violation. You have to move the whole screen. And Apple’s design shows it going from left to right. Does that matter?

    I think I found a loop hole. It says the destination is predefined. So if you can change the location in settings, it won’t be predefined, it would be user-defined right?

    And what if the device unlocks AND opens an app, is it still in violation? It doesn’t just unlock, it also opens, meaning it does more than one thing, meaning it should be in violation. Dugh!! My head hurts. I see why lawyers make a lot of money.

  40. “mommy mommy they took my patent now i’m going to cry like a little baby because i’m defenseless mommy stop them” f#@k apple

  41. Hey, I have a patent on this fruit…that’s called an APPLE! Seriously, you steal your name from a fruit and then sue everything that moves…. very cool……not.

  42. Google, just patent the use of a screen larger than 3.5″ and Apple will be locked down forever.

    1. I too would if i was allowed.

    2. They already did that the iPad lol

      1. nah, they can make it more specific and patent the use of a screen larger than 3.5″ for a phone. maybe microsoft and google should do a joint patent, since there are some M$ phones that are larger than 3.5″ too.

        edit, can we submit a patent on the behalf of google and microsoft for this?

  43. And patent phone with a physical keyboard for all the ladies.

  44. iHoles.

    1. This made me giggle soo much.

  45. Your picture of the old fashioned bolt lock says it all – The Patent Office has gone mad.

    Patents are intended to protect innovative, novel and previously uninvented intellectual ideas and devices. A computerised representation of a gate bolt used in medieval times to protect castle gates and prevent cattle from escaping from a field is hardly novel and and innovative.

    The people granting these patents need their heads examined before the whole patent, copyright and intellectual copyright field becomes a farce.

  46. They’ll perfect face-unlock and/or you’ll hold your thumb on it for 2 seconds.

    Let’s move along, nothing to see here…

  47. Apple cannot win over Android otherwise and making themselves happy with this stupid way patent cases and I believe courts are also gone crazy actually Apple believes they are masters of the world of mobiles which is not true and it is not more than a day dream

  48. This comment goes out to all the apple AND android fanbois!! The fault does not lay at the feet of steve jobs, it lies at the front door to the US and worldwide patent offices. Over a hundred years ago the phrase “Build a better mouse trap….” was coined and patent offices have gone nuts since. If they would grow a brain and realize that if you grant a patent for “Any devices that traps, contains and or kills a mouse or other rodent”, They are the destroyers of inovation!!! Apple and Steve Jobs are/were great inovators!! NO ONE can deny that! if it wer not for their inovations we would probably not have the android operating system that we all enjoy. but the fact that the patent office and legal system have allowed these law suites, it is a real hinderance on future inovation! Perhaps we should ALL join together and start a petition to stop the stupid frivolous lawsuites and see just how far many of these wonderful developers can take our gadgets without the fear of who might sue them???

    1. +1, damn patent office

  49. double post

    1. Even with the technology today this amazes me. And to be specific on what amazes is the screen technology, it sounds and looks by far more precise at reading touch inputs than capacitive or resistive tech, its solely and entirely gesture based. especially with this being before iPhone released its just essentially like a small android even with those icons.

  50. Call me crazy but with honeycomb and ice cream sandwich is “slide to unlock” even there anymore ?? last time i checked my g-slate and the galaxy nexus, cant u grab that lil circle and swing it around wherever u want as long as it gets to the other side ? true my G2 still has it, but i think itll be a non issue….

  51. Looks like HTC is in trouble. Stupid Apple hindering innovation.

  52. This is seriously dumb as fuck.

    Of course you have to move something on a touch screen to unlock it, it’s a fucking touch screen! That’s like FireFox putting a patent on CTRL+T to open a new tab on your browser.

  53. looks like press and hold gonna be pretty popular…. but damn. we should of patented the SEARCH FEATURE. FUCKING GOOGLE.

  54. When will the patent office just throw away and ban software patents? that is all that needs to happen here.

  55. I doubt it. You said this was a brief description of the patent. I would have to see the details of the patent. Based on that brief description, my pattern unlocking mechanism would be a violation and yet it is NOTHING like the iphone unlock. (I too follow a predetermined path with visual cues even though I determined the path I would take.) If anything, based on the picture, the slide to unlock covers their specific way of sliding to unlock. Ie sliding one button to the right at 180 degrees. ICS coincidentally slides to the left at 180 degrees.

  56. rest of the patent apparently explains a horizontal motion of an on-screen element.

  57. Regardless of whether this patent is legal or not, regardless of whether there’s prior-art, regardless of whether current unlock methods would fall under this or not, regardless of whether there are work-arounds…

    This patent is stupid, and represents all of what’s wrong with the USPTO and the current system, and a lot of what’s wrong with Apple. Any system that allows such a trivial thing to become a PATENT is horribly broken, and any company that exploits this is to be ostracized. Congrats, Apple, for once again revealing what a bunch of dickwads you all are and increasing the disgust for your company in the tech marketplace. No doubt you added a few more hundred thousands of consumers to the list of people who will NEVER buy a(nother) Apple product.

  58. The USPTO really needs to change their stance on the “first to patent” rule. It’s fine in theory but does that mean that I can go patent “theming a mobile operating system” just because no one else has? I didn’t invent it and I for damn sure wasn’t the first to do it but should I be granted that patent just because i submitted a patent app first? Hell fucking no! But thats what they just did for Apple.

  59. Who needs a “predefined gesture” anyway? This is WAY more convenient:

  60. If I buy a hardware device separate from the operating system and load the operating system after I buy the device. And if the operating system is open source who does Apple sue? Not the manufacturers then who?

  61. I think they grant far too many patents for IP nowadays. Most of this stuff is ridiculously vague and general.

    Apple is simply using their patents to create a monopoly. They want to be the only smartphone game in town. Not cool, Apple. Man, I wish Windows didn’t suck so much.

  62. Loophole! It says predefined gesture; this means that HTC’s ring and Samsung’s screen moving can’t be based on this patent! Take that Apple!! ;p

  63. I’d like to patent the power button please .

  64. I know of a pre-defined gesture I’d like to show Apple. Next thing you know, they will patent wiping one’s a$$. Proud to say I’ve never given a penny to Apple and never will.

  65. Patents were founded to secure an invention! do you call sliding stupid bar to unlock a phone an invention?? grow up apple!

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