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Apple: All Your Unlocking Mechanisms Are Belong To Us

Granted a patent for "slide to unlock"

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Apple: All Your Unlocking Mechanisms Are Belong To Us
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How many of you use a “swipe to unlock” mechanism to gain access to your smartphones? Quite a few I would guess. The finger-dragging-across-the-touch-screen method of unlocking phones is probably most known for being a feature on the iPhone, but tons of other devices use a similar mechanism.

Today, Apple owns that mechanism, as they were just granted a patent by the United States Patent & Trademark Office. The patent, number 8,046,721, was filed back in December of 2005. Here’s how it is described:

A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture.

Sounds a lot like how many smartphones operate these days, doesn’t it?

I guess we can add this to the growing list of slightly absurd entries into the patent system. Although most would agree that patenting a motion on a touch screen is a little silly, it doesn’t change the fact that that’s how the patent system currently works. Don’t hate the player, hate the game I guess.

And it’s kind of funny, but all of those Android devices that users “slide to unlock” are now infringing on patents.

[Hat tip to 9to5Mac]

Apple: All Your Unlocking Mechanisms Are Belong To Us
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  • lrd

    Absurb my a**! Isn’t it nice for Google & the rest of the lame **s copycats when someone does all your thinking for you!

    Apple, yes Apple invented this feature and others just sat back and copied it.

    You haven’t invented anything, so as far as you’re concerned it’s there for everyone’s taking.

    • Chris Kelbaugh

      Lets take a look at Android notifications and see who invented what…also Steve Jobs in his own words. “Good artists copy, great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” Suck it fanboy

    • yaw bouya

      Have you heard of the Neonode N1m? Why don’t you search for it on youtube and lets see who did the thinking for slide to unlock.

  • Ona

    If this infringing on the patent, then who was the first person to invent the television with it’s knobs, dials, remote, etc? People are going to copy each other. Look at the fashion industry, car industry, everyone rips off each other’s designs. This patent infringement is absurd.

  • yaw bouya

    Also the patent says predefine.Android unlock system is not predefine, you move the circle to ring to unlock.

  • http://www.FreeGunInfo.com Steven

    Remember when butt dialing was a problem until phones had a lock function? Imagine your phone in your pocket unlocking and your butt dialing because your butt unlocked your phone with a simple swipe. Now if there was a light sensor that could determine the phone was not in your pocket and you’d still have to swipe to unlock that would be much better.