German Court Rules Apple Didn’t Invent “Slide to Unlock”
John Williamson / 3 years ago
A German court has dismissed Apple’s patent claim regarding the “slide to unlock” mechanism and supported a ruling by the lower Federal Patent Court. Apple’s patent was rejected on the basis that it was too similar to an existing product by Swedish company, Neonode. More specifically, Neonode invented the basic principle of slide to unlock two years before the iPhone’s launch. However, their implementation only involved basic text and Apple decided to add a visual slider. As a result, Apple tried to argue that this was enough of a difference to warrant a patent in Apple’s favour. Thankfully, common sense has prevailed and the highest court in Germany found the differences to be negligible.
This ruling means, Apple didn’t invent the intuitive slide to unlock feature which made the iPhone such a recognizable device. Neonode continued to sell many handsets up to 2008 with their original design before declaring bankruptcy. Interestingly, their original patent is still valid, so they could have a legal basis to sue Apple on copyright grounds.
Apple’s patent crusade against Samsung and dispute with Kodak has done little to earn the respect of companies it was trying to destroy. This latest revelation will give a strong boost to Samsung in their patent war with Apple.
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