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Print 107 comment(s) - last by Cheesew1z69.. on Feb 20 at 8:02 PM

Swipe unlock hit the market two years before Apple filed its patent or sold a single iPhone

Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) victory over Google Inc.'s (GOOG)  new acquisition Motorola was a stinging blow to the Android phonemaker.  Ruled in German court this week, the decision has the possibility to ban all sales of at least two of Motorola's phones in Germany. (Though a workaround from Motorola will prevent this from happening.)

But if you haven't figured it out, Apple's "slide to unlock" patents [1][2] should be invalidated or narrowed both in Europe and in the U.S.  

Setting aside, for a second, the matter of obviousness, here's why they are invalid from the perspective of prior art (as noted by a Dutch judge in Apple's pseudo-victory in the Netherlands).

I. The iPhone

Here we have the iPhone and its marvelous unlocking:


Here's a quick picture, in case you don't want to watch the video:

Unlocking the iPhone
[Image Source: YouTube]

To unlock, you slide your finger from left to right (if the phone has blacked, click the home screen button).  Apple has received not one, but two patents on this in Europe and the U.S.  In the U.S. these patents are U.S. Patent No. 7,657,849 and U.S. Patent No. 8,046,721.

Basically the patents cover a left to right slide gesture and accompanying graphics on the iPhone.

II. The Neonode n1

Now meet the Neonode N1/N1m, by Neonode Inc. (NEON):

Neonode n1
The Neonode n1 [Image Source: Engadget]

The device went on sale in July 2004 (the above photo was published on Sept. 2004).  Note the unlock activation button on the n1.

Now see this same feature in action demonstrated in 2007 on the slightly upgraded NeoNode n1m (skip to 4:00 if you don't want to see the whole thing):


Here's a quick picture, in case you don't want to watch the video:

Unlock n1m
[Image Source: YouTube]

Now be aware that Neonode first developed this phone in 2002 (!), so this gesture had been around for several years before Apple ever considered filing for a patent.

III. A Bit Different?

The swipe gesture is essentially identical to Apple's, with a few minor differences.  Let us be clear what these differences are:

1. The Neonode has no graphic that slides along with your finger.
2. The Neonode has a 3x3 diode grid (resistive touch) versus an interpolating capacitive touchscreen on the iPhone.
3. The Neonode track is not visible.
4. The positions of the "track" may vary slightly (it corresponds to the non-visible row of three diodes near the bottom of the screen on the n1).
5. Different services may be "locked" on the iPhone vs. the Neonode.

Stil the overall idea is the exact same.  As the previous video's "trick" demonstrates, early versions of iPhone unlocking did not test that the slider had slid down the full track.  They merely checked for a touch at the start position, followed subsequently by an end position.  This is crucial as it makes difference #2 immaterial.  Essentially the iPhone's detection algorithm is grid based, just like Neonode's.  In fact it's presumably cruder than Neonode's as it is only a two-position test, versus a tri-position test on the n1.

Difference #5 seems trivial.  If you read Apple's patent its invention claim is not so much the list of services locked -- that is mentioned, but it is more of an afterthought.  The patent's core claim (Claim 1) is:

1. A method of controlling an electronic device with a touch-sensitive display, comprising:

    detecting contact with the touch-sensitive display while the device is in a user-interface lock state;

    moving an unlock image along a predefined displayed path on the touch-sensitive display in accordance with the contact, wherein the unlock image is a graphical, interactive user-interface object with which a user interacts in order to unlock the device;
    transitioning the device to a user-interface unlock state if the detected contact corresponds to a predefined gesture; and
    maintaining the device in the user-interface lock state if the detected contact does not correspond to the predefined gesture.

Notice, the patent's primary claims deal with the gesture, not finer points of its results.  This ambiguity would seem to work to Apple's advantage here; if it was too specific with the results, it could limit the enforcement possibilities as the results application-wise of unlocking in Android are almost certain different than the results of unlocking in iOS.  But in reality, the ambiguity precludes difference #5 between the iPhone and the Neonode from being protected, as it was not covered.  And even if it had been, the narrower patent would likely no longer cover Android.

Difference #1, #3, and #4 are true differentiators between the iPhone and the n1.  

But hopefully we can all agree that a comment like DT reader "Commodus" is blatantly erroneous:

Apple patented a specific implementation. Notice the fixed track? Point X to point Y? Neonode's wasn't like that.

Neonode's implementation was exactly like that.  It detected Point X (bottom left-most diode) then detected the motion to Point Y (bottom right-most diode).

IV. The Motorola Phone

Now to the final idea that the Apple patent is narrowly targeting a specific look.

If that is the case than the Motorola lock screen:




...should not be in violation.  It looks completely different.  

Here's a quick picture, in case you don't want to watch the video:

Motorola unlock
Note the lack of a visible track and no image under the finger (right).
[Image Source: YouTube]

The slider is in a different place, there is no graphic under your finger (once you click, the red lock disappears during the slide), and there is no visible track.  Thus if the Apple description is significantly different to Neonode's to be non-patentable, Motorola's phones -- different from Apple in these same points -- are not covered by the Apple patent.

In short, Apple's multi-touch patent needs to be either invalidated, or Neonode's implementation needs to be added to it, in order to sufficiently (and appropriately) narrow the claims.  Either way, Motorola is not in infringement of this patent, at the end of the day as Apple's innovation here is limited to specifically a certain graphical effect, an effect that is not duplicated on the Motorola devices.


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Meanwhile
By Omega215D on 2/17/2012 6:47:38 PM , Rating: 2
Google filed a patent for the notification bar back in 2009 but it's still pending:

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Google-filed-for-pa...




RE: Meanwhile
By Omega215D on 2/17/2012 6:50:28 PM , Rating: 2
Google also filed it's own locking patent as well:

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Google-patent-filin...


RE: Meanwhile
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By themaster08 on 2/17/2012 7:12:21 PM , Rating: 3
Enter: Tony Swash Mk. 2


RE: Meanwhile
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By themaster08 on 2/17/2012 7:21:28 PM , Rating: 2
Copying the simplicity? Is "simplicity" something Apple have also patented?

Microsoft are moving with a market trend, and have completely redesigned their UI. Their design is completely original, not "copying the simplicity of iOS", as you so idiotically put it.


RE: Meanwhile
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By themaster08 on 2/17/2012 7:31:08 PM , Rating: 2
Does that mean Apple should be the only ones allowed to pursue that market? That sure is a way to advance innovation, right?

Without compettion you'd still be getting your notifications via an annoying pop-up box in the middle of the screen that gets in the way of what you're doing. By the way, Google filed for patent of the slide notification screen in 2009, so expect the fallout from that to come pretty soon.


RE: Meanwhile
By nafhan on 2/17/2012 7:46:55 PM , Rating: 2
Making devices easier to use and simpler isn't a trend, and it wasn't started by Apple. I'd say "making things easier" is the history of technology in a nutshell. It's a "trend" that's been ongoing for at least... recorded history.


RE: Meanwhile
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/17/2012 8:12:27 PM , Rating: 5
You are certainly brainwashed by Apple. Astounding.


RE: Meanwhile
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/17/2012 11:26:13 PM , Rating: 2
If you say so....


RE: Meanwhile
By xytc on 2/18/2012 4:58:19 AM , Rating: 2
Some here are missing the big picture "slide to unlock" is in fact a "drag and drop" feature, so the Apple patent should have been invalidated from the start.


RE: Meanwhile
By bupkus on 2/18/2012 12:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
Y waste your time responding. JD is clearly trolling for a reaction; that's obviously how he gets his dick up.


RE: Meanwhile
By retrospooty on 2/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: Meanwhile
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By retrospooty on 2/18/2012 12:21:21 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, you are a special kind of deluded.

Anyhow, not everyone is as mentally unstable as you to associate themselves with a company that makes gadgets. I am not threatened at all by Apple, I am glad for Apple. They keep things innovating and make the rest of the PC and phone makers raise thier games. Just tired of hte hypocritical lawsuits , thats all. Its fine when Apple blatantly copies other companies, but when its hte other way around, they sue.


RE: Meanwhile
By bupkus on 2/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/18/2012 2:19:37 PM , Rating: 2
You talking about me?


RE: Meanwhile
By Azaraith on 2/18/2012 1:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
You're a really special kind of idiot. The company's profits don't matter to users. Unless you work for Apple or have a significant amount of Apple stock, it doesn't help you at all. Market share does matter, as it drives people to create apps, accessories, etc for that market. Why do you think iOS and Android have tons of apps, while WebOS doesn't? No one's gonna spend the time developing an app for a small market (ie they can't make money off it).

As far as his being an "IT grunt" is concerned, that is both an insulting statement and incorrect. iOS can't hope to do 90% of the real work that IT techs work to enable. OSX also needs setup and maintenance to do real work in most cases, as does any OS.


RE: Meanwhile
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/18/2012 2:22:37 PM , Rating: 2
No, the end users do NOT care...


RE: Meanwhile
By michael67 on 2/18/2012 4:22:33 PM , Rating: 2
The reality distortion field is strong with in this one.
quote:
Having a larger market share is irrelevant if it doesn't translate into larger profits.

Google for one is give's his OS away for free, so how is it translating in to profits then?

Its all about getting your data, and use it to make better targeted adds!

And worldwide with a +50% market share, Android is a clear winner over iOS with only 15% market share.

So you Sir, are eider a real big troll, or you have something wrong with your brain.


RE: Meanwhile
By poi2 on 2/19/12, Rating: 0
RE: Meanwhile
By nafhan on 2/17/2012 7:33:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Is "simplicity" something Apple have also patented?
I think they tried to say that in regards to the Galaxy Tab, yes.


RE: Meanwhile
By testerguy on 2/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By retrospooty on 2/18/2012 7:48:38 AM , Rating: 2
"He didn't say 'simplicity' was patented. He said Microsoft was copying it."

Again you are back to this? All companies copy others. It is how industry works. Apple copies too. The issue here (for the umpteenth time) is not that anyone copied Apple, its that Apple copies other companies and its all fine for them, and then they turn around and sue other companies who do the same thing.

"The Galaxy Tab was not banned for being 'simple'. It was banned for being indistinguishable on MANY levels"

In one country, by one ignorant court system that got fooled by good lawyers... Your argument that hte lawyers couldnt tell it apart was becasue they held it over 10 feet away and asked which is which. Well, all tablets look the same to a non-techy at that distance, even a techy in most cases. And even at that, it was just an order to rework it a bit. Google it, you can buy it anywhere.


RE: Meanwhile
By testerguy on 2/19/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By nafhan on 2/17/2012 7:30:01 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think anyone is arguing about the quality or usability of these devices (or at least not anyone reasonable). The problem here is the patents, the patent system, and the abuse of that system - primarily by Apple.

Also, Apple copies every bit as much as others. Pretending otherwise is, I'll say awesome, which you can take to mean anything you like.

Finally, do these "normal" people you know really have trouble using Android devices or Windows? Just a guess, but they might not be normal... I'll illustrate with a quote from Zoolander: "The files are IN the computer?"


RE: Meanwhile
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By karlostomy on 2/17/2012 8:59:12 PM , Rating: 5
Jeremiah Derringer...
Have you been paying attention?

This is not Apple IP.
Apple may have slapped a patent on it, but such a patent is invalid if the IP existed before Apple stole it, especially if the implementation of competing devices differ from the narrowly defined Apple patent.

The 'slide to unlock' feature was an idea that Apple stole from the The Neonode n1 mentioned in this very article.
In fact, this is yet another example of how Apple always has been
quote:
shameless about stealing great ideas
.

The above quote may seem offensive to you, as you clearly believe Apple innovates while others copy.
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
Apple has repeatedly copied and somehow been credited with innovation.

You are likely angry now, as people often are when they are shown to have been deceived, as you have.
In denial, you will want to argue with me.

Don't bother.

Instead, check out this video of the late Steve Jobs where he acknowledges that Apple repeatedly steals and copies other's ideas.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0DUg63lqU

In a nutshell:
Apple steals other's ideas, then slaps a patent on the stolen idea and sues others who use any variation of the same idea. Steve Jobs admitted this, but most Apple fans remain blissfully ignorant.


RE: Meanwhile
By testerguy on 2/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Meanwhile
By StevoLincolnite on 2/18/2012 6:15:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
this is clearly not illegal because COPYING of itself is not illegal.


Someone please tell the MPAA that... :P


RE: Meanwhile
By karlostomy on 2/18/2012 10:20:16 PM , Rating: 3
@ Testerguy

No need to call me an idiot for simply linking a video of Steve Jobs.
What on earth is wrong with you?
Perhaps you have an anger management issue?

With regard to your post, I am not sure where to begin to take it apart.

quote:
Ripping off an entire device so much so that the two can't be told apart by your own lawyers, is an example of illegal copying, as it infringes on design and copyright.


Not sure what your point is?
I have yet to see any device from a competing manufacturer, where Apple claims violation of their patents, that I can't easily distinguish from the Apple product.
Most intelligent people are easily able to discern real and obvious differences that set the hardware apart.

Apples IP lawsuits across the world have been thrown out of court in most countries. In cases where they haven't, some very minor hardware modifications were enough to satisfy the courts that no patent laws were violated. (eg Galaxy tab 10.1n)
That seems to completely debunk your argument.

quote:
In the case of Slide to Unlock - if any of you are right that the prior are is RELEVANT in the eyes of the law (since it's done very differently and isn't a smartphone, maybe it isn't) - then you don't have to worry. The legal system decides this, not you. While the idea is similar to the Neonode n1, the technology and the implementation is clearly different. As is the device genre. You claim that Apple 'copied' this idea but the patent office clearly disagreed.


Wrong again.

Apple did indeed copy the idea, but then slapped a patent on their very specific implementation of this stolen idea, as no one had filed that exact patent before.
This is what I said in my earlier post and is a repeated hallmark of Apple behaviour.

Unfortunately for the free market, Apple seems to like to copy others or steal their ideas. Then they apply for a patent on the idea and sue everyone else who thinks it is ok to steal ideas from apple just as apple does. Of course, now that Apple has patented this stolen idea, Apple loyalists think Apple is a wonderful innovator.
wtf?

Quite sad, really.

PS: Please don't get abusive again.


RE: Meanwhile
By testerguy on 2/19/12, Rating: 0
RE: Meanwhile
By testerguy on 2/19/2012 4:01:55 AM , Rating: 1
it's the very copying which is legal*


RE: Meanwhile
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/19/2012 9:19:53 AM , Rating: 2
Can you say irrelevant a few more times? It's simply amazing how when you are proven WRONG, it's irrelevant.

I think it's time for everyone to QFT.

You are just now simply trolling and it's getting quite annoying.

Amusing as well, since you can't seem to let go of Apple's nut sack, but also very sadly annoying.

Oh, and by the way, your opinions, they are irrelevant.


RE: Meanwhile
By testerguy on 2/20/2012 3:29:16 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Can you say irrelevant a few more times? It's simply amazing how when you are proven WRONG, it's irrelevant. I think it's time for everyone to QFT. You are just now simply trolling and it's getting quite annoying. Amusing as well, since you can't seem to let go of Apple's nut sack, but also very sadly annoying. Oh, and by the way, your opinions, they are irrelevant.


This whole block of text is completely irrelevant.

If you feel my opinion is irrelevant, fine, since I also backed it up with facts.


RE: Meanwhile
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/20/2012 8:15:03 AM , Rating: 2
No, you didn't....


RE: Meanwhile
By Just Tom on 2/18/2012 8:12:05 AM , Rating: 2
I am no Apple fan but the quote from Jobs is fairly innocuous, there is not a business around that does not 'steal' ideas.

quote:
Ultimately it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you're doing. I mean Picasso had a saying he said good artists copy great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.


RE: Meanwhile
By Paj on 2/20/2012 7:07:15 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Google and Microsoft create overly-complex technologies aimed at geeks, while Apple makes things as easy as possible for normal people.


If you find the Google search page complex, then perhaps Apple devices aren't really for you.


RE: Meanwhile
By AMDftw on 2/20/2012 7:20:55 AM , Rating: 1
Simpletons and the mentally challenged can use a Iphone. That's right "Geeks" are for Android users. People with high intelligence.


RE: Meanwhile
By ATrigo on 2/17/2012 10:28:52 PM , Rating: 1
See, this is what happens when Tony Swash eats past midnight...


RE: Meanwhile
By xytc on 2/18/2012 4:55:07 AM , Rating: 2
Some here are missing the big picture "slide to unlock" is in fact a "drag and drop" feature.


Forward
By FS on 2/17/2012 6:29:55 PM , Rating: 2
the link to the German judge(s).




RE: Forward
By Treknologist on 2/17/2012 6:31:47 PM , Rating: 2
You read my mind! LOL This is very well done and that judge really should read it!


RE: Forward
By Theoz on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Forward
By Treknologist on 2/17/2012 6:52:10 PM , Rating: 2
So, what you are saying is that Motorola would have to bring this information into the next step in the process, after their appeal, in order to invalidate the patent. I'm guessing Moto will be doing that.


RE: Forward
By Theoz on 2/17/2012 7:03:26 PM , Rating: 2
No, not after an appeal. They just file a nullity action asap. This is just how German litigation works. Contrast with the USA where infringement and validity are determined in the same proceeding.


RE: Forward
By JasonMick (blog) on 2/17/2012 7:02:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Infringement and Invalidity are two separate proceedings in Germany. The German court did not consider the above cited prior art in the infringement case because it is obligated to only answer whether the issued patent claims are infringed by the accused device without any regard to the validity of those claims. The accused infringer will then file an action for nullity wherein the patent can be invalidated based on, for instance, the art that Jason discusses in this article. The German judges did not previously consider the above mentioned prior art because they are prohibited from doing so until the nullity portion of the trial.
Your comment paints an incomplete picture.

The judge in the Samsung trial decided to narrow the scope, although they were not allowed to officially base their ruling on prior art.

That said, either judge has/had the option to stay the trial until the validity proceeding completed.

The notion that Judge Dr. Guntz presumably knew about the prior art/invalidity (according to FossPatents) and opted not to grant the stay takes this from innocent ignorance to wanton maliciousness towards Motorola.

In short, if FossPatent's commentary is to be believed, both judges were at least somewhat aware of Neonode's device and their Netherlands counterpart's finding that the patent was invalid on grounds of Neonode's device.

The fact that Judge Dr. Guntz appears to have known that Apple's patent was likely invalid, yet denied Motorola's request for a stay, instead delivering a punitive early ruling is disappointing.

Nonetheless, this mess will likely be cleaned up when the patent is invalidated.


RE: Forward
By testerguy on 2/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Forward
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/18/2012 10:23:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
he isn't a biased idiot
You are one to talk about being BIASED...

/rolls eyes


RE: Forward
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/18/2012 10:25:14 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
drivel
Like most of your BIASED posts....the double standards are simple astounding with you....


Patent Law 101
By Theoz on 2/17/2012 7:01:56 PM , Rating: 2
You can't, as you say be
quote:
Setting aside, for a second, the matter of obviousness,

when all of the elements of the claim is not present in one prior art reference (lack of novelty). If you can't prove lack of novelty, which you cannot do based on the art you cite, you have to consider obviousness to invalidate the patent.

In this case, as you state:
quote:
1. The Neonode has no graphic that slides along with your finger.

However, the patent claim you reproduced requires the element that:
quote:
moving an unlock image along a predefined displayed path on the touch-sensitive display in accordance with the contact, wherein the unlock image is a graphical, interactive user-interface object with which a user interacts in order to unlock the device;

As you state, the Neonode does not possess this element. Consequently, you would have to prove that this single difference is an obvious one to a person having ordinary skill in the art. Find another reference that includes this item or a similar implementation and you will be most of the way there.

In any case, I greatly appreciate you writing this type of article vs. previous articles where you ignore crucial facts, e.g. that the German judge was legally prohibited from ruling on the validity of the patent in view of the prior art you mentioned because there are separate proceedings for infringement and validity in Germany, in order to criticize a judge or the patent system in general. In this article, it is clear that this is your opinion, whereas before you erroneously reported the ignorance of prior art as a fact.




RE: Patent Law 101
By JasonMick (blog) on 2/17/2012 7:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As you state, the Neonode does not possess this element. Consequently, you would have to prove that this single difference is an obvious one to a person having ordinary skill in the art. Find another reference that includes this item or a similar implementation and you will be most of the way there.
Well, if you're going to make that argument, watch the video of the Motorola unlock. The user interacts with an invisible element, which in turn moves a trackless full screen graphic to the right of your finger's touch location.

This is visually quite different from Apple's unlock.

So if the unlock is on a visual basis, Apple's patent may be valid, as I state in this piece on a narrower scope.

But as I state, if this is the case (as I reexplain here), Motorola's device is fundamentally different from a graphical perspective, while paying homage to the broader (but unpatented) Neonode prior art.

Either way, the end result is the same -- Motorola would be innocent of infringement.
quote:
In any case, I greatly appreciate you writing this type of article vs. previous articles where you ignore crucial facts, e.g. that the German judge was legally prohibited from ruling on the validity of the patent in view of the prior art you mentioned because there are separate proceedings for infringement and validity in Germany, in order to criticize a judge or the patent system in general. In this article, it is clear that this is your opinion, whereas before you erroneously reported the ignorance of prior art as a fact.
And I in turn appreciate your candor and digging up that link on German IP proceedings for me.

That said, I think you need to consider that the German judge (according to Mueller) had the option to stay the case, until the prior art considerations were settled on the validity track. You are correct about the judge likely having knowledge of the invalidity (via the Dutch ruling), but was unable to consider the prior art directly. That said he had two options given this state of affairs:
1. Grant a stay.
2. Deliver a punitive ruling against which could potentially temporarily harm Motorola, despite knowing the patent would likely be invalidated on the other tract at a later date.

Judge Dr. Guntz chose 2. In clarifying this, you've essentially changed his portrayal from ignorant to villainous.

The appearance based on what you paint is along the lines of:
quote:
Imagine a man is awaiting trial for murder, and the judge was made aware that the evidence against the person would soon be invalidated and that they were likely innocent. Yet this evidence was not allowed directly. Still the judge had one power he COULD use to free the man he knew was innocent; he could stay his decision, until the other case regarding the evidence was settled, freeing the person and nullifying his current case. But rather than choosing this just path, he instead chose to rule early and imprison the person, despite knowing their innocence.


A bit hyperbolic, but seems like a fair example.

Anyhow, feel free to disagree.


RE: Patent Law 101
By Theoz on 2/18/2012 12:45:26 AM , Rating: 2
I'm just speaking from the legal requirements of anticipation (lack of novelty) and obviousness. Basically, my point is that the argument you make in this article would be insufficient to reject the apple application at the patent office because the prior art is missing a key element. Therefore, you would have to argue that the difference between the two is obvious to reject the application. I didn't say finding the missing link would be difficult. Possible options range from a mouse pointer appearing on a computer screen to the mouse gestures that showed mouse pathing while gesturing in Mentor Graphics (EE software). I'm sure there are even better examples.

I think your example is fair. But I'm sure you realize how exclaiming that the judge ignored all prior art in making his decision would give people the wrong impression of what actually occurred, especially when most of your readers reside in a country that handles validity and infringement in one proceeding. To maintain neutral reporting, I would suggest including this type of story separately from reporting the news.


RE: Patent Law 101
By testerguy on 2/18/12, Rating: 0
What does the patent say?
By drycrust3 on 2/18/2012 1:11:06 PM , Rating: 2
Apple's two patents mentioned look identical, so I'm quoting from the first one (7657849). This is what it says:
quote:
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.

So we need to look and see if any other prior patent covers the same thing. For example, from American patent US 2002/0109677 A1 filed in December 2001:
quote:
A touchpad having a plurality of distinct zones, wherein movement of a user's finger on the surface of the touchpad between zones, the act of lifting a finger off of the touchpad surface, the act of placing a finger on the touchpad surface, and the movement of a specific pattern of a finger within a single zone are all actions that will generate characters that are transmitted from the touchpad to a receiving device.

As we can see, this is pretty much identical to Apple's patent. The interesting thing is this patent isn't mentioned in Apple's citations. I found it by looking at the citations on the patents Apple cited. It is arguable that Apple should have cited this patent due to the huge amount of similarity between what they filed and this patent.




RE: What does the patent say?
By drycrust3 on 2/18/2012 9:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
How about this, from US Patent 6721738, filed in Jan 2001:

quote:
A motion password control system including a motion sensor responsive to motion of a device and providing a signal corresponding to movement of the device;


thx
By sprockkets on 2/17/2012 6:34:04 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the article - I wasn't sure about the two patents about slide to unlock, but I have a good memory :). Thanks for posting the patents involved.

And as always

Apple is Doomed TM




.
By capcomdevil on 2/17/2012 8:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
European Union should fully investigate apple business practice just like what they did at microsoft.




Apple patents
By rich876 on 2/20/2012 9:13:43 AM , Rating: 2
I'll never buy an Apple product. They are a very greedy company. The remark that Steve Job made about spending 40 billions to win his case against Google, blows me away.




REALLY !??
By Dr of crap on 2/20/2012 10:29:01 AM , Rating: 2
Who gives a rats A$$.
It's a cell phone and I could cares less WHO was first!
I also do not LIKE the slide to open.

My two cents!




Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By jwcalla on 2/17/2012 6:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
I laughed.


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By JasonMick (blog) on 2/17/2012 7:29:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I laughed, too, when Apple became worth more than Microsoft and Google combined. Apple won; Google and Microsoft lost.
Apple is financially brilliant, I admit that.

That said, it appears to be acting in a manner similarly to Microsoft in the word processing/browser industry circa 1990-1998 or circa 2004-2006 Intel in the CPU market -- acting anticompetitively to squash competitors.

While Google is often accused of doing the same thing with its search engine (via the implied threat of the Page Rank patent), it never did sue Yahoo or Microsoft for offering similar search implementations. In other words Google (to my knowledge) did not engage in anticompetitive actions -- at least not to the flagrant extent Apple, Intel, and Microsoft all have (at one time).

Further, Microsoft and Intel's accused anticompetitive tactics are now years in the past and both companies made amends (albeit being forced to). Thus, these companies now deserve the benefit of the doubt. By contrast, Apple's behavior is ongoing in the present, thus it is the company who earns the most criticism here.

If someday Apple renounces its anticompetitive ways and stops the junk lawsuits, I'm sure many DailyTech readers (myself included), will give them the benefit of the doubt, albeit being a bit warier in the future.


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
By poi2 on 2/19/2012 3:56:15 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
by Jeremiah Derringer on February 17, 2012 at 8:28 PM Apple's stellar financial results are the direct result of creating innovative, easy-to-use, and beautifully crafted products. They aren't racing to the bottom, as PC and Android companies are, screwing consumers over with bloatware, cheap components, and frustrating design.


Steve Job is not an APPL CEO anymore.


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By testerguy on 2/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/18/2012 10:28:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Instead of ripping off the iPad
Of which they didn't, no matter how many times you say it, it doesn't make it true or fact.


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By testerguy on 2/20/2012 3:33:46 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
quote: Instead of ripping off the iPad Of which they didn't, no matter how many times you say it, it doesn't make it true or fact.


Right, OK? So Samsung didn't have their Galaxy Tab banned for being too similar to the iPad?

.... lol


By Cheesew1z69 on 2/20/2012 8:16:38 AM , Rating: 2
Because the judge is an idiot? Yes?


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Reclaimer77 on 2/17/12, Rating: 0
RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
By karlostomy on 2/17/2012 9:12:03 PM , Rating: 2
Warning!

*Delusional Apple Fan troll detected*


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Swamp on 2/17/2012 6:49:21 PM , Rating: 2
Cause apple copied the slick to unlock from Neonode. Then apple patented it cause US patent system sucks.

If the patent system was even valid, they wouldnt of allowed it to happen.

Wonder what apples gonna do when their notification bar has to be changed. Because they copied the idea from Android??? Hope google sues they $hit outta them.


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
By XZerg on 2/17/2012 7:02:27 PM , Rating: 2
hahahahahahaha....
ha
hah
aah
ar
aha
ha
aha
haa


By Treknologist on 2/17/2012 7:10:50 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmm, I smell a double standard here. Could it be? /s


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/17/2012 7:22:00 PM , Rating: 3
Yet another Apple apologist. It's OK for Apple to steal but not the other way around. Simply amazing and pathetic at the same time.


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By testerguy on 2/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By themaster08 on 2/18/2012 3:36:45 AM , Rating: 3
Just because something isn't patented, it will still be considered as prior art, you fool.


By testerguy on 2/20/2012 3:42:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just because something isn't patented, it will still be considered as prior art, you fool.


How ironic. I've never said that the Neonode device wont eventually be considered prior art. I said that Apple didn't steal it. Learn the difference. Apple is free to implement any technology which is not patented, legally, and 'prior art' has nothing to do with that. Contrast to Samsung, who illegally copied the iPad 2 with the Galaxy Tab (as found in court). If you accuse Apple of copying Slide-to-unlock due to 'prior art' then you also accuse every Android manufacturer of doing the same.

Now, where prior art DOES have relevance is when trying to obtain or enforce a patent, which is what these court cases are about. The question, however, is NOT about whether Apple 'stole' anything - they clearly didn't steal anything since no patent existed - they may have been legally influenced by the Neonode, they may not, but either way they didn't illegally copy anything when implementing slide-to-unlock. The question is whether or not the implementation they patented is sufficiently different to the Neonode implementation to be patentable, in other words, does the prior art defence hold up for Motorola. Apple clearly felt that they had come up with a slightly novel way of achieving the slide-to-unlock (for example the visual feedback of the contact point), and made sure that they protected it (if such protection is possible).

People are confusing the validity and enforceability of a patent to questions of 'copying'. I do not know of any legal cases where Apple is accused of copying. Therefore, people suggesting that Apple wants 'double standards' are completely wide of the mark.

The cases against Apple have thus far focused on FRAND patents which by their very nature are NECESSARY for any phone and every manufacturer licenses them - that is not copying.


By StevoLincolnite on 2/18/2012 6:19:25 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Just like Samsung copied the entire product range.


Except! When I drop a Samsung phone or tablet the screen doesn't crumble.

Drop an Apple product? Pfft. Walk away and forget about it. They're fragile.

Here is an example: youtube.com/watch?v=zW_swJiebIA


By Cheesew1z69 on 2/18/2012 10:33:12 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Just like Samsung copied the entire product range.
Except, they didn't, you keep saying this as if it's true or fact.

quote:
1 - The Neo device didn't patent the technology, so Apple didn't infringe anything
It's been used BEFORE Apple patented it...PRIOT ART...not hard to understand here...

quote:
So no double standards at all, just a company who is protecting their own ideas, and being sued over use of FRAND patents.
Which 99 percent of their "ideas" have been USED before they USED THEM or patented them...

You really need to quit sucking Apples nuts....you are such a sad and pathetic human being.


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Swamp on 2/18/2012 12:54:18 PM , Rating: 1
lol typical Isheep....

i can steal your IP, patent it. Sue you for your own IP. Tell all the isheep that we are the best company in the world. that everyone else's steals our ideas. Yeah, what a great company...

Wonder how the iphone5 will be??? Prolly just like the last 3 gens of iphones lol....


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Jeremiah Derringer on 2/18/12, Rating: -1
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/18/2012 2:33:09 PM , Rating: 2
Right...


By MechanicalTechie on 2/19/2012 4:36:46 PM , Rating: 1
Unbelieve stupidity and totally brainwashed!!!


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/17/2012 7:19:56 PM , Rating: 2
More likely they just don't want the hassle.


By JasonMick (blog) on 2/17/2012 7:22:07 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
More likely they just don't want the hassle.

Actually, they were left no choice. Despite appearing to know about his Netherlands counterpart's decision, the German judge appeared to not stay the ruling on infringement. A stay would have allowed Motorola to complete is invalidity claim, which will likely succeed.

Thus for now Motorola's only option is to do an update, until the validity track invalidates Apple's patent.

It's disappointing that the judge appeared to have knowledge of Motorola's innocence, yet purposefully chose not to use the tools at his disposal, instead opting to punitively (and prematurely) punish the innocent party.

Regardless, the update buys Motorola time, and I would be amazed (and appalled) if the invalidity effort does yield the rejection or narrowing that Motorola hopes for.


By drycrust3 on 2/18/2012 4:50:04 PM , Rating: 2
One could go further and suggest that regardless of whether Motorola copied Apple or not, the fact is they have to change because if they don't then they could be held in contempt of court.


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By nafhan on 2/17/2012 7:22:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Once again, Apple has helped consumer's by protecting their IP and forcing others to innovate instead of copying.
Please, explain how restricting the usage of a swiping gesture to unlock a device helps consumers or forces innovation. Maybe other OS's can have the user draw a swirly pattern or tap the screen three times to unlock! I CAN FEEL THE INNOVATION COMING! :)


By Cheesew1z69 on 2/17/2012 7:58:58 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't, he is an Apple apologist.


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By testerguy on 2/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/18/2012 10:37:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
in my opinion
And thank GOD your opinion is worthless and means absolutely NOTHING.


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By messele on 2/18/2012 3:24:18 PM , Rating: 2
And thank the IMAGINARY BEING that everybody looks to you for your insightful opinions.

No wait, you're a moron and a sore loser.


By Cheesew1z69 on 2/18/2012 3:31:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No wait, you're a moron and a sore loser.
Sorry but no...


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By nafhan on 2/20/2012 4:52:32 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it's forcing them to implement almost the same thing in a slightly different manner. I'd call that a workaround...
quote:
In other cases such as the Galaxy Tab being banned the customer did benefit, in my opinion, because now it's clear that manufacturers can't simply duplicate Apples products, and have to come up with something of their own. Clearly this will mean more options for the consumer.
So, taking away choices gives consumers more choices? We're talking about devices that are essentially just a screen. ANY differences in physical appearance are going to be minimal.


By Cheesew1z69 on 2/20/2012 7:32:29 PM , Rating: 2
He obviously is an idiot, I think it's time to QFT


By Gondor on 2/18/2012 12:25:21 PM , Rating: 2
Actually this thread has made me think about this "swipe to unlock" thing and I realized it is pretty stupid. Why not simply use two-finger-tap: first tap your idnex finger and then your middle finger if you are right-handed or tap both touch-sensitive areas with your thumb if you are holding a smaller device such as telephone with your hand.

No patent disputes (heck, patent this and sue Apple once they steal this idea ;-) ) and an action that is more obvious with those two images on Motorola phone than the swipe thing which seems more awkward (try comparing both while holding either a phone or a tablet/book).


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By bennyg on 2/19/2012 5:08:50 AM , Rating: 1
They are changing it because it's far easier and cheaper to do than to have all their sales stalled while arcane legal processes churn on, in a legal system that's already made some astoundingly dumb decisions to date (yes both for and against Apple)

It's just the smart thing to do...

Knowing German courts' nitpicking stupidity all they need to do is change it to right-to-left and that'll be enough to stop the case dead.

Sometimes I don't blame Apple for all the crap they're putting on, rather the retarded IP system that allows them to do it, and occasionally win.

OMG those two cars are indistinguishable from 100m away INFRINGEMENT!

(Also, Apple are the biggest electronics company in the world only because they've figured out know how to brainwash a huge amount of customers into paying huge margins no one else in the industry can get away with)


RE: Motorola has already admitted guilt.
By testerguy on 2/20/2012 3:54:20 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Knowing German courts' nitpicking stupidity all they need to do is change it to right-to-left and that'll be enough to stop the case dead.


I think 'pre-defined path' covers any direction.

quote:
Sometimes I don't blame Apple for all the crap they're putting on, rather the retarded IP system that allows them to do it, and occasionally win.


Exactly, all companies are trying to get away with whatever they can. Look at Samsung and Motorola trying to ban devices over FRAND patents. Any mistakes are the fault of the system. For example, an earlier post said 'I'll copy your IP, patent it, and then sue you for it' - completely oblivious to why this wouldn't work - due to the system.

quote:
OMG those two cars are indistinguishable from 100m away INFRINGEMENT!


Firstly, it was 10 feet (3m), the typical distance you sit away from your TV. 100m is pretty misleading.

Secondly - if two cars were indistinguishable by their own lawyers in a case where one was accusing the other of copying, while not THE test for infringement, it would still be a compelling argument. Could you honestly claim you didn't copy a car in court if you can't tell it apart from the original from 3m away? It would be pretty damning. As I said, this isn't the test for infringement, since being able to discern a difference is not sufficient, but it's still very telling.

quote:
(Also, Apple are the biggest electronics company in the world only because they've figured out know how to brainwash a huge amount of customers into paying huge margins no one else in the industry can get away with)


The margins are not really relevant to the end consumer. Apple buys in bulk, gets massive economies of scale and has a much more efficient production and manufacturing process than it's competitors, so of course it has higher margins. What's more relevant is to talk about relative price of the devices - but this also presents problems. No smartphone out right now has the same GPU power as the iPhone 4S. Similarly, no tablet has the same GPU power as the year-old iPad 2. So I struggle to work out how you're actually comparing prices? Look at the number of apps for the iPad and iPhone, the battery lives, the customer satisfaction ratings, the reliability ratings, the device support compared to Android? They are all MASSIVELY favourable to Apple - and THAT is what customers are paying for, and THAT is why the brand has been such a success. People trying to suggest that marketing alone is the reason for Apples success are deluded - in almost every metric (Specification / performance, Battery Life, Reliability, Number & Quality of Apps, Customer Satisfaction, Device Support) - Apple comes out on top.

When Android sorts out its device support, and comes out with hardware as capable as Apple has out right now, I'll happy admit it - but right now Apple is significantly ahead, even before the release of the iPad 3.


By Cheesew1z69 on 2/20/2012 8:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Firstly, it was 10 feet (3m), the typical distance you sit away from your TV
It's a TABLET, QUITE a bit SMALLER than a TV...seriously? You are a complete moron.


"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer














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