Apple has won a patent on its "slide-to-unlock" feature, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent request was filed in June 2009 and granted in October 2011 and covers the following, per the filing:
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.
9to5mac points out that Steve Jobs introduced Apple's slide-to-unlock feature when he unveiled the first iPhone in 2007. Watch Jobs slide-to-unlock and listen to the audience gasp, and then applaud this feature:
A 9to5mac commenter noted that a Dutch judge had already thrown out Apple's request for this patent in Europe, as a tiny Swedish phone manufacturer called NeoNode had already introduced the slide-to-unlock technology on its own handsets earlier than Apple in 2005. A full rundown of that decision can be found here.
In other Apple patent news, Geek.com is reporting that Apple is suing yet another company for using its Apple logo. They've sent a cease and desist letter to Apfelkind ("Apple child") Cafe in Germany, as they say the German coffee shop's logo infringes on their own Apple. Techdirt has a nice side-by-side of the two logos; on the left side is the Apfelkind apple, and on the right side is Apple's apple:
Copyright infringement? Head over to Techdirt for a couple other examples of Apple suing smaller companies for use of an apple image in their logos.
Between these two cases, and Apple's multiple lawsuits in several countries against Samsung for infringement against both the iPhone and the iPad, Apple's lawyers have been rather busy in the past few months. Siri, call my lawyer!
Check out some of the craziest Apple patents ever filed by the Cupertino giant (below).
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