Apple Unfairly Wins “Slide to Unlock” Patent Rights?
Slide to Unlock gesture is a very clever feature of Apple iOS devices. Today, the United States Patent & Trademark Office issued a patent grant to Apple concerning to this gesture. Notably, this very unique feature “slide to unlock” was introduced with the debut of the original iPhone that keeps your device secured in your pocket. On the other hand it seems that Apple has unfairly won thispatent……Why? Let’s Explore.
Steve Jobs excitedly revealed “Slide to Unlock” gesture on first generation iPhone to the company’s invitees back in January, 2007;
“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.”
Apple’s iOS chief Scott Forstall is the man behind this stylish invention along with his team members including Imran Chaudhri, Bas Ording, Freddy Allen Anzures, Marcel Van Os, Stephen O. Lemay and Greg Christie.
In fact, Apple filed this patent application in December, 2005, well ahead of the iPhone first appearance at the Macworld Expo meaning that Apple had been working on iPhone project doing the work a few years earlier than its debut.
It really looks very odd that the patent of a very popular feature of iPhone, “Slide to Unlock”, is being granted to Apple after about 4 years of its public usage. Actually, it is the very complicated and lengthy patent procedure of the USA Patent & Trademark Office which generates such type of situations.
Now, no company can use this feature on its devices unless a court rules that it is invalid or prior art.
Here’s a video of Neonode N1m (2004-5), showing “Slide to Unlock” type gesture which was present before the iPhone arrival;
You would wonder to know that a Dutch court has already ruled that “Slide to Unlock” patent was invalid because of this very device.
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.
For detailed info, just go to USPTO search engine, and search patent number 8,046,721 in the Patents section.
Here is another video showing Steve Jobs introducing the “Slide to Unlock” gesture to the world for the first time, mark 15:30 in the clip embedded below for a quick watch.
- odd slide to unlock
- slide to unlock gif