Apple wins Slide to Unlock patent dispute with Motorola

All the way over in Germany there's a patent case going on which involves – or until today involved – Motorola and Apple enforcing its slide-to-unlock image patent, EP1964022 This ruling will be the first time Apple has won over an offensive claim against Motorola in Germany, Munich I Regional Court judging a permanent injunction today that Apple now has the option of enforcing at its own risk against a bond. Apple did not win against Motorola in one of three rulings, it being the unlock sequence on the Motorola XOOM (Android 3.0 Honeycomb's circle unlock) but did win against two smartphone methods for unlocking.

The first patent being used here is one described as "unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image." In iOS this means the "Slide to Unlock" feature with an arrow at the bottom of the display. For those of you unfamiliar with Android, the unlock sequence in Gingerbread (the system Motorola uses most often now in their Android devices) has a very similar method for unlocking its initial startup screen. There are three patents Apple is claiming for in Germany at the moment:

EP1964022 for Slide to Unlock against Motorola in Munich

• The same patent against Samsung in Mannheim

DE212006000081 for a German utility model against Samsung, also in Mannheim

The Samsung cases are against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus specifically and it's newer method for unlocking the device in Android version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. According to Foss Patents it appears that the Utility Model patent was used against Motorola as well but only in a small mention in the case. There is also another case with Apple vs Motorola coming down for patent EP1040406 for a "soft input panel system and method" – this will also affect Motorola's Android devices.

How these cases will affects how Motorola devices (and eventually either Samsung or Apple devices) are able to be sold in Germany is not yet known. Furthermore it will be interesting to see how this ruling affects the rest of the court cases around the world involving Motorola and Apple, not to mention the rest of the Android-based companies doing legal battle with Apple at the moment. Watch out, Google!

[via Foss Patents]