AfterDawn: Tech news

Apple continues to collect touchscreen patents

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 26 Oct 2011 20:11 User comments (13)

Apple continues to collect touchscreen patents Apple has just been granted yet another patent on basic touchscreen technology in the US. Their latest patent, granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is for the swipe-to-unlock feature they first used on the iPhone.
This patent is an extension of one granted by the USPTO last year which covered locking devices until an appropriate swipe gesture was performed. This latest patent adds the specifics of Apple's iOS GUI:

  • movement of the unlock image from the first predefined location to a predefined unlock region
  • wherein the moving comprises movement along any desired path
  • wherein the moving comprises movement along a predefined channel from the first predefined location to the predefined unlock region
  • further comprising displaying visual cues to communicate a direction of movement of the unlock image required to unlock the device
  • wherein the visual cues comprise text
  • wherein said visual cues comprise an arrow indicating a general direction of movement
  • A portable electronic device... wherein the unlock image is a graphical, interactive user-interface object with which a user interacts in order to unlock the device; and to unlock the hand-held electronic device if the unlock image is moved from the first predefined location on the touch screen to a predefined unlock region on the touch-sensitive display


The previous patent is one of many Apple is suing various Android handset vendors over in the US. It is also, arguably, one of Apple's shakiest smartphone patents.

In their Dutch patent case against Samsung, Apple was denied a tablet injunction based on a European swipe-to-unlock patent. The judge in that case felt the patent was likely to be overturned based on evidence of an almost identical feature implemented month before Apple's patent application.

The previous art was from a Swiss phone, the Neonode N1m. Here are the images of the phone entered as evidence by Samsung (via FOSS):




The Dutch judge noted that the only thing Apple's patent added to the earlier implementation was a graphic which moves along with the swipe motion. He didn't consider that significant enough to be patentable.

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13 user comments

126.10.2011 20:27

you really have THAT much time don't you crapple


Being nice always has its own consequences

226.10.2011 22:32

Hey, it isn't like they are spending any time innovating. The good news is that swipe to unlock is an old tech that (for the most part) android doesn't use anymore. I don't like most of sense because it is slow, but the unlock is way better than the old swipe method.

[edit]
This news story is wrong...they didn't patent the swipe; they patented "gestures", which could be defined as almost anything. Basically, they patented the lock screen. God bless the US patent office...God is the only hope they have left.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 27 Oct 2011 @ 4:14


327.10.2011 8:23

Wow. Yeah, after reading all that, it seems that all lockscreens containing an image along with a movement will be subject to litigation. So, all of them?


~*Livin' Electronicallly*~

427.10.2011 13:10

Isn't this the Micro$oft approach to technical innovation?


Forza Juve!!

527.10.2011 19:20

Swipe to unlock will be the thing of the past hopefully.

628.10.2011 7:05

I really hate these lawyers. If they could they would patent breathing and try to charge everyone a royalty. Fortunately most countries would not allow you to patent breathing, but in the US you have a pretty good chance.

I'm waiting for apple to patent holding a device in your hand and touching it with other hand. I wouldn't be suprised if they have tried. New business model for apple, patent troll....

728.10.2011 8:57

What's the average age here?

I'm guess 15 years old.

829.10.2011 0:00
Zoo_Look
Inactive

That's the average age of open source technology before Apple patent it.

Makes sense actually. Get everyone using/developing/adding/enhancing a piece of unpatented/open source technology, then 15 years later go to a US (obviously only in the US) litigation troll facilitator (aka lawyer), and slap a patent on it.

Instant profit from all those people working with that tech. Genius on the part of Apple. My 2 year old Samsung is now apparently illegal as it has a gesture to unlock it. Am I glad my contract ran out the other day, now I can go with a monotone Nokia 8210... no colours, no touchscreen, no mp3, just a phone.

Sadly, Apple are patenting the numbers 0 - 9, so I will have to ensure I buy the Braille version and hope they don't patent those too.

Oh damn, I typed on a keyboard with numbers on it... I'm in trouble now!!

929.10.2011 0:33

Originally posted by Zoo_Look:
That's the average age of open source technology before Apple patent it.

Makes sense actually. Get everyone using/developing/adding/enhancing a piece of unpatented/open source technology, then 15 years later go to a US (obviously only in the US) litigation troll facilitator (aka lawyer), and slap a patent on it.

Instant profit from all those people working with that tech. Genius on the part of Apple. My 2 year old Samsung is now apparently illegal as it has a gesture to unlock it. Am I glad my contract ran out the other day, now I can go with a monotone Nokia 8210... no colours, no touchscreen, no mp3, just a phone.

Sadly, Apple are patenting the numbers 0 - 9, so I will have to ensure I buy the Braille version and hope they don't patent those too.

Oh damn, I typed on a keyboard with numbers on it... I'm in trouble now!!
And you used a screen to display information...I think 4 or 5 companies own that patent.


1029.10.2011 0:36
Zoo_Look
Inactive

Originally posted by KillerBug:
And you used a screen to display information...I think 4 or 5 companies own that patent.
I was born, infringing on God's design specifications. Maybe I could counter that it was my MOTHER who actually developed me though?
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 Oct 2011 @ 0:37

1129.10.2011 0:44

Apple can keep their swipe. I would rather just touch a stationary spot anyway. Too many times that swiping doesn't work right anyway.

1231.10.2011 9:55

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Hey, it isn't like they are spending any time innovating. The good news is that swipe to unlock is an old tech that (for the most part) android doesn't use anymore. I don't like most of sense because it is slow, but the unlock is way better than the old swipe method.

[edit]
This news story is wrong...they didn't patent the swipe; they patented "gestures", which could be defined as almost anything. Basically, they patented the lock screen. God bless the US patent office...God is the only hope they have left.
There is nothing new about the gestures either. I have used an old time Casio Win CE 3.1 device with handwriting recognition program which used gestures for different purposes and converted them to text input. This was more than 12 years ago.

BTW it also supported an add on digital camera which automatically compensated for the orientation (landscape / portrait) and direction it was pointed at to display the correctly oriented image.

1331.10.2011 13:36
Zoo_Look
Inactive

Originally posted by pmshah:
it also supported an add on digital camera which automatically compensated for the orientation (landscape / portrait) and direction it was pointed at to display the correctly oriented image.

Sounds interesting, I probably won't get to see it in action though since Apple have probably patented it... and at 16 million for an Apple device, I won't be buying it!

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