Patent dispute: Swipe-to-unlock, HTC won against Apple Inc.

The High Court in London favored HTC that it has not violated any four patents, which Apple claimed as its own. To clarify things, the judge said that the swipe-to-unlock feature was an “obvious” development in the light of a similar function on an earlier Swedish handset.

Apple Inc. sued that HTC violates their four patents, which are:

  1. Performing a gesture on an image to unlock a device.
  2. Multi-lingual Keyboard, which allows user to use different alphabets on portable devices including smartphones.
  3. A system to determine which elements of a screen were activated by single-finger touches; which were activated multi-finger touches and which ignored touches altogether.
  4. Letting a user drag an image beyond its limits and then showing it bounce back into place to illustrate that they had reached its furthest edge.

According to the judge, the first three patents do not infringed Apple’s patents and thus, those were invalid in this case. Lawyers, however, are putting too much attention to the slide-to-unlock, which Apple claimed that it violates their patent. The Judge ruled that the feature would have infringed Apple’s technology had it not been for a device released in 2004. He added that the “slider” concept has never been new since that concept showed in Microsoft’s CE system already.

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