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HTC defeats Apple in swipe-to-unlock patent dispute


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HTC is claiming victory in a patent dispute with Apple after a ruling by the High Court in London.

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The judge ruled in HTC's favour across all of the four disputed patents in the case

The judge ruled that HTC had not infringed four technologies that Apple had claimed as its own.

He said Apple's slide-to-unlock feature was an "obvious" development in the light of a similar function on an earlier Swedish handset.

Apple has also cited the patent in disputes against firms using Google's Android system software.


HTC launched the London-based lawsuits a year ago as part of an effort to invalidate European patents Apple had referred to in a German court case. Apple subsequently countersued.

The four patents at stake were:

The judge ruled that the first three patents were invalid in this case, while the fourth did not apply to HTC's devices.

Lawyers fighting other lawsuits against Apple are likely to pay close attention to the decision regarding its slide-to-unlock patent.

The judge said that HTC's "arc unlock" feature - which also involves a predefined gesture along a path shown on-screen - would have infringed Apple's technology had it not been for a device released in 2004.

The Neonode N1 showed a padlock on its screen with the words "right sweep to unlock" when it was in its protected mode. A later version replaced the text with an arrow.

The judge said it would have been an "obvious" improvement for the developers to have offered users visual feedback in the form of a "slider" in the way that Apple later used.

He added that the concept of a "slider" was not new since it had already appeared in Microsoft's CE system.

As a result Apple's claim to the innovation was rejected.

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Apple had claimed HTC's Arc unlock mechanism infringed its technology

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Apple's "slide to unlock" patent ruled invalid in UK

HTC just won a patent battle against Apple in the UK. A judge ruled that Apple's "slide to unlock" patent is invalid and in fact was stolen from another device, the Neonode N1, released back in 2004.

Raise your hand if you're getting sick of Apple's constant courtroom battles over technology that's fairly ubiquitous. Although Apple has been winning a fair amount of cases lately, they've been handed their fair share of defeats as well. Chalk another one up to the "loss" column as the BBC reports that a judge in the UK has ruled three of the four Apple patents in the case invalid and thus ruled in favor of HTC.

At odds were four patents: Slide to unlock, multilingual keyboards, determining where the screen is being touched and by how many fingers, and dragging an image around the screen. The judge ruled that the first three were invalid, while the image dragging patent did not apply to HTC's devices.

Interestingly, Apple may have been caught copying another company in the "slide to unlock" fiasco. The judge said that HTC would've been violating Apple's patent if not for the fact that a previous phone, the Neonode N1, released in 2004, had a similar feature only without a graphical representation. The ruling stated that adding visual feedback would be an "obvious" improvement and thus the patent could not stand. It's unclear whether Neonode actually patented the "slide to unlock" in their phone.

Apple did not comment on the ruling but came back to their standard statement, one that is humorous given the judge's note regarding the company copying the Neonode N1: "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

While this ruling hurts Apple in the short term, many people do not believe that the rulings will have worldwide reaching results. Lawyer Andrew Alton in the UK stated, "Not only are the tests different but also the evidence that can be introduced in different courts varies. If the Neonode wasn't released in the US it might not be able to be cited there."

One thing is almost certainly true: Apple will appeal the decision as courtroom battles on software and hardware patents continue.

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Yeah, if Apple had their way, they'll be claiming that too! :lmao:

BTW, that thingy looks like it's from the middle ages, which admittedly makes the meme funnier. But how does anybody still have that? Especially on a fairly modern looking door at that :think:

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Is there anything on Earth that Apple did not invent?

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