The iPhone ‘slide to unlock’ feature has been issued a patent grant by United States Patent & Trademark Office.
‘Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image’, the patent abstract reads as:
“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.”
This is another twist in the smartphone patent punch up, and with apple winning this battle it seems to be getting more and more extreme. As silly as it may be, nobody is can use the popular ‘Slide to Unlock’ without infringing on Apple’s patent unless a court rules it is invalid or prior art.
However this patent is not with out its opposition, like the dutch court ruled the patent invalid due to the a mobile phone developed in 2004-05 named the ‘Neonode N1m’. Apple originally filed a patent in 2005, which saw the feature originally introduced back in 2007 with the release of the iPhone.
For more information on the patent visit: USPTO.gov and search the number ’8,046,721′.