Master of Unlocking: Apple Patents Swipe-to-Unlock Despite Prior Art
October 26, 2011 3:27 PM
comment(s) - last by
Some say that Apple is behaving like a patent troll.
(Source: Peter Jackson/New Line Cinema)
One patent just wasn't enough, Netherlands declares U.S. patent garbage
Apple, Inc. (
) has an interesting knack for convincing the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
to grant it patents on relatively obvious GUI actions/animations. Two famous examples of that are the patented "scroll bounceback" animation that it's
using to sue Samsung
Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) and the "swipe unlock" gesture/animation, which it is
using to sue
HTC Corp. (
Now the kind folks at the USPTO have handed Apple another gift wrapped patent -- a second patent on swipe gesture unlocking.
U.S. Patent No. 8,046,721
redescribes what was already described in
U.S. Patent No. 7,890,778
, only this time with more words.
Apple delivers 11,700 words -- roughly 17 pages in size 10 Times New Roman font -- to describe what basically equates to "Drag your finger across the screen along the animated track, the touch API responds, recognizes the gesture, animates the slider, and unlocks when the drag is complete."
Apple is the master of unlocking, having received two patents on the simple gesture.
Again Apple has claimed ownership of
forms of swipe unlocking -- even the wide vertical drag down bar that HTC implements (which looks little like Apple's iOS tracked slider unlock).
Among those prominently listed on the patent is iOS chief Scott Forstall. Viewed as a future CEO candidate, Mr. Forstall wears the same outfit to presentations and drives the same car as the late Steve Jobs. Many describe the ruthless executive as a "mini Steve Jobs" and say he's
now assumed Steve's former role of "Apple's chief A-hole."
You can witness late Apple CEO Steven P. Jobs bragging about the feature back in 2007 at the original iPhone's launch:
Mr. Jobs initiated a lawsuit crusade against Android handset makers, which Apple is continuing in his memory. Mr. Jobs suggested that even if he wasted every bit of money Apple has ever made
it would be worth it to destroy Android
, commenting, "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product."
In Mr. Jobs mind Android's "stealing" was wrong, but interestingly he often boasted of his own powers of idea theft. Indeed he lifted the idea for his successful Mac operating system from Xerox Corp. (
) He once bragged, "Picasso had a saying - 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And we have always been
about stealing great ideas."
You can watch this for yourself here:
However, the USPTO's idea of validity doesn't fly in all countries. A Dutch judge
on Apple's use of U.S. Patent 7,657,849 (the original unlocking patent) to try to ban sales of Samsung smartphones ruled the Apple patent was "obvious" (in Dutch he said it was "lying close at hand" -- literally "for the hand lying") and likely invalid. He points out that Neonode Inc.'s (
) N1m -- launched in 2005 -- had a virtually identical unlocking feature, albeit with a different graphic.
Apple lifted the unlock feature from NeoNode. [Source: FOSS Patents]
He also acknowledged a similar on-off use in Guitar Rig:
Guitar Rig -- 2004 [Source: Wikimedia Commons]
...as pointed out by Samsung's attorney's. The guitar after-effects software was available back in 2004 -- three years before the first iPhone was released. The judge complained that the Apple work was "not inventive" and suggested that the patent should be invalidated.
Samsung has removed one other minor GUI animation from its smartphones in the Netherlands,
escaping a potential sales ban
. However, the threat of a ban in the U.S. where questionable patents hold greater power,
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Patent This
10/28/2011 3:35:23 PM
Funny, as there are loads of companies offering bricks, that actually clip on the same as Lego.
If it were AMERICAN Apple, no doubt they would have been granted an exclusive right for a "extended cube" in a "variety of different colours" and "varying textures suited to construction requirements"
FU America, all you have left is your shitty IP, that wasn't even yours.
The last stand of a failing empire, to claim restrictions on stuff that isn't even yours as a method of propping up you economy that is actually sucking the lifeblood out the average American as it's all funded by a select few bankers and politicians feeding bullshit into the populations minds.
I'd actually care for the Average if they bothered to care about their own history. You guys have the right to bear arms, isn't it time you realised WHY that is the case? It won't be long before you'll give that right up, and then you'll be as fucked as us Brits.
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
Steve Jobs: "I'm Going to Destroy Android, Because It's a Stolen Product"
October 20, 2011, 10:45 PM
Samsung Modifies Its Hardware, Software to Try to Appease Apple
October 20, 2011, 6:00 PM
Judge Refuses Apple's Request for Preliminary Injunction Against Samsung
October 14, 2011, 11:38 AM
"Apple's chief A-hole" Forstall Keeps Steve Jobs Executive Legacy Alive
October 13, 2011, 6:30 PM
UPDATED: Netherlands Judge Finds Samsung Guilty of Infringement of Apple IP
August 24, 2011, 10:19 AM
Smart Security Cameras: 5 Good Choices For Any Budget
July 25, 2016, 7:13 PM
Top 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
Retiree Sues Apple For $7,500 for Wiping Honeymoon Photos From His iPhone
November 30, 2015, 10:23 AM
iPhone 7 May Pack 3-4 GB Memory, More Storage; 4-Inch Comeback is Rumored
November 20, 2015, 10:12 PM
OnePlus One, OnePlus 2 Will Receive Android Marshmallow in Q1 2016
November 16, 2015, 9:58 AM
Lenovo Whoa: Motorola Droid MAXX 2 and Turbo 2 Break Cover in Leaks
October 26, 2015, 3:12 PM
Most Popular Articles
iPhones May Get Curved Screens Next Year
August 24, 2016, 6:45 AM
Drones at the Airport
August 26, 2016, 5:00 AM
5 Easy Ways to Lower Blood Pressure By Monique C. Bethell, Ph.D.
August 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
2 NEW PlayStation 4 Models - Unveiling September 7th
August 23, 2016, 6:23 AM
First Apple Computer Auctions for $815,000
August 27, 2016, 7:51 AM
Latest Blog Posts
First Self-Driving Car debut on the streets of Singapore
Aug 28, 2016, 4:10 PM
Coming Soon - Drones and Airports
Aug 24, 2016, 12:40 PM
SolarCity’s Gigafactory: A Milesone in Emerging Technology by Lily Emamian - 15 August 2016
Aug 15, 2016, 6:30 AM
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information