Sunday, February 19, 2012

Apple Wins German Injunction Against Motorola Over "Swipe to Unlock" Patents

Apple has won what could be a fairly significant victory in its wide array of ongoing patent lawsuits. A German court has ruled that a number of Motorola Mobility products infringe on Apple's European slide-to-unlock patent, EP1964022. The ruling is a permanent -- but appealable -- injunction that Apple can enforce today if it is willing to post a large bond against Motorola's almost certain appeal.

Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents reports on the details of the decision:
The court evaluated three different embodiments. Apple won on the two that Motorola's smartphones implement. It did not prevail on the third one, which the Xoom tablet uses. That implementation is very similar to what I have on my Samsung Galaxy Note: the user has to make a swiping gesture from the inside of a circle to the outside. It requires a relatively large screen to work somewhat well, but even then it's not very intuitive. (I'm a very happy Galaxy Note user, but it has its shortcomings and the slide-to-unlock circle is one of them.)
Mueller believes that Motorola is unlikely to win on appeal. If the injunction stands, the user experience for the owners of Motorola products might be just a little bit poorer -- exactly what Apple wants.

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