Slide Wars: UK High Court Rules Against Apple On 'Slide To Unlock'
Apple experienced a reverse Wednesday in one of the many, many ongoing patent disputes between mobile device giants, when the High Court in the United Kingdom ruled that HTC‘s instance of “slide to unlock” was not infringing of Apple Inc’s patent – specifically patent EP 1964022 (A1), which concerns “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image”.
Image via CrunchBase
The Court also ruled that HTC devices were not infringing two other patents under examination – one addressing the use of multilingual keyboards on mobile devices and one concerning the application of single and multiple touches on touchscreen photo galleries. A fourth patent – on having an image bounce back when dragged beyond its allowable limit on screen – was judged not relevant to the devices under contest.
Slide to unlock, in particular, has become emblematic of the patent wars currently keeping lawyers busy across the world. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is currently subject a preliminary injunction in the US regarding its voice search functionality. German courts have this year both upheld one slide-to-unlock claim against the unlocking in two of Motorola’s skinned phones, but not the Motorola Xoom (providing an easy fix), and threw out a similar claim against Samsung. HTC, meanwhile, found imports of their HTC One X superphone under threat in the vital US market after the International Trade Commission ruled that its operating system infringed a patent on “data tapping” – the ability to tap on a phone number in a document, web page or email and have it open in a phone dialer – and has undertaken to change its approach. The preliminary injunction on the Galaxy Nexus, it is worth noting, also covers slide to unlock and data tapping, along with the implementation of autocorrect on the default keyboard, but the Northern California District Court judge did not feel these necessarily affected purchasing decisions – a note that may have significance in future.