German court invalidates Apple's slide-to-unlock patent

A German court has ruled that all claims for Apple's slide-to-unlock patent have been found to be invalid. The ruling was made in Germany's federal patent court, Bundespatentgericht, and is a big win for Motorola and Samsung, both companies who were affected by the patent. Apple has, in the past, used the patent in order to attack Motorola and Samsung for infringement and to seek injunction's against both companies' devices.

Apple stated that several of Motorola's Android Gingerbread devices used very similar slide-to-unlock features listed in its patent. It also stated that Samsung's Galaxy Nexus device, as well as its other devices running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and higher infringed on the patent. While Apple's claims against Samsung were thrown out, Apple still won its case against Motorola, and a permanent injunction was issued towards several of Motorola's handsets.

In a day-long session in court, Apple proposed 14 amendments in hopes of saving its patent, however, the court ruled that Apple's patent lacked any innovations that would warrant its existence. The decision was based on the fact that a wide variety of smartphones all have similar slide-to-unlock features as the one detailed in Apple's patent. The patent did not provide any technological innovation to solve a technical issue.

Apple still has a chance of saving its patent by filing an appeal, which it is most likely to do. Apple's recent patent suits have seen their ups and downs. It was denied the trademark for its iPad Mini by the USPTO recently, and the USPTO also invalidated its "bounce-back" patent again. On the bright side, an ITC Judge stated that Samsung had infringed on Apple's text-selection patent. There are bound to be more new developments in Apple's many lawsuits soon, so we'll keep you posted.

[via CNET]