When Apple debuted the iPhone and subsequently iOS, one of the features of the phone was the swipe-to-unlock feature that allowed users to unlock their phone by swiping their finger across the screen. This feature has since been used by many smartphone OEMs and operating systems.
Unfortunately it seems that Apple’s desire to protect the feature and sue companies for using it isn’t going so well. Recently the courts in Germany have basically ruled against Apple and claimed that the feature did not meet high enough standards to secure patent protection. According to the court, “This user-friendly display was already suggested by the state of the art. The contested patent thus isn’t based on an invention.”
Prior to this, Apple had successfully managed to get an injunction against Motorola back in 2012 over the feature, but given the recent ruling of the court, there is a good chance that the case with Motorola will be moving forward and possibly in Motorola’s favor as well. Apple had also previously tried to go after Samsung in the US.
While Apple was initially successful, the appeals court later voiced their skepticism that Apple had suffered irreparable harm from the patent’s alleged misuse. Either way all of this harks back to the days of the patent battles which hopefully all be resolved soon.
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