The Patent Office Approves Apple’s “Slide-to-Unlock” Patent

Ouch! This is bad for Apple mobile device competitors!

Patent Approved: Apple Now Owns “Slide to Unlock”

“Most touchscreen devices have some sort of slide-to-unlock function. Whether it’s up, down or side to side, a swift, predefined gesture is the way most of us unlock our touchscreen phones and tablets. However, it looks like any phone that does do this is infringing upon a patent owned by iPhone maker Apple.

9to5 Mac reports that the United States Patent and Trademark Office yesterday morning granted Apple approval on a patent an application covering ‘a predefined gesture for unlocking the device.’ Specifically, the patent lays out a scenario where 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 application for this patent was filed in 2009, two years after the first iPhone was announced, and one year after the first Android phone hit the market. Though Apple has not yet mentioned anything about pursuing other companies that are now in violation of this patent, we doubt the company will waste any time in taking competitors to court over this one.”

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