Slide To Unlock patent goes to Cupertino. Apple wins again.

by Katelyn Chisholm

The latest Apple patent could seriously derail its nemesis, Google’s Android. Apple has won the patent rights to its prominent “Slide to Unlock” feature on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The finger slide across the touch screen is now owned solely by Apple.

This makes for great fuel for the Apple vs. Android fire. The problem for the Android and other similar touch-screen smart phones or devices is that the slide to unlock patent is intensive and also includes ownership of all “predetermined gestures” for unlocking the phone, meaning the established keypad-pattern unlock system of the Android will become an infringement of Apple’s design.

Interestingly enough, though the patent on this feature was originally applied for in the US in 2005, the patent award has been debated by a Dutch court because of the earlier Neonode N1m. This 2004 Swedish touch-screen phone seems to be the first appearance of the predetermined gesture technology.

Does this allow Apple to sue every company with a pre-existing gesture-unlock feature? Technically, yes. They can pursue legal action for any infringement of their design, and based on their unfriendly relationship, we’re wondering how long it will take to get Google’s Android to court.

Experts say a counter-claim will likely be made to protect the integrity of the Android product.

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