Apple Granted Patent for ‘Slide to Unlock’ Gesture

By , Oct 25, 2011

When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone back in 2007, he had a blast showing off the company’s first handset. One feature he particularly enjoyed demonstrating was the phone’s unlocking mechanism — the now famous Slide to Unlock component.

He loved that users could unlock the phone so easily, and it wasn’t something that could be triggered by accident in a pants or coat pocket. He loved it so much, that he didn’t want anyone else to have it. So naturally Apple filed a patent application…

Patently Apple reveals that among several patents granted to the Cupertino company today by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) was a patent regarding the iOS Slide to Unlock feature.

Scott Forstall, Senior VP of iOS, is credited with its invention among several other Apple engineers. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that the patent application was submitted in December of 2005, a little over a year before the handset was revealed.

Of course, the bottom line is that Apple now owns the patent, and could theoretically go after anyone else that tries to use it. And given the company’s history in IP (Intellectual Property) litigation, I don’t think there is any question that it will.

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  • CrazyBraulz

    why don’t they just patent all iOS features lol

    • iMarc

      They certainly try to patent anything patentable. It’s big business.

    • MisterExx

      Angry much dude? First off, Apple never claimed to invent the slide to unlock. They just PATENTED the idea. Whether it’s valid or not is between them and the courts.

      Second, I hope Apple DOES monopolize the mobile phone industry, just to see all the Android lovers heads explode. You Fandroids are the whiniest, bitchiest people I’ve ever come across. So next time you feel like bitching and moaning over what the competition is doing, remember that you’re at an APPLE BASED SITE. Also remember…..and this is the most important…..IT’S A FUCKIN PHONE!!

  • Jt

    Lol. Mad man. Wonder how android will change that feature now. Unless its only from left to right thats patented

    • Ken

      So android can use right to left?

      • Keith

        A patent means if it’s even close to resemblece your getting sued so no no left to right

  • Mathieu R.

    They should patent the touch screen phone. And kill everyone at the same time, why not.

    • Fabio Rodrigues

      apple already did, right?

      • arskka

        They tried, but it was rejected

  • James

    I was going to eat my sandwich and I received a letter saying apple has a patent on it!

    • Jas God

      womp womp.

      • Rob

        Lmao!

    • rajesh

      +1

  • http://rulethenation.com Pukka

    I believe android won’t have to pay royalties because on the android lock screen u can swipe every which way

    • Garrett

      Android will be affected because the actual patent covers any on screen gestures to unlock a phone as well. This is the actual pantent.

      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. — Patent 8,046,721

      • MisterExx

        I think it will only affect certain Android devices. The patent keeps referring to “predefined” gestures. HTC’s gesture lets you move the unlock circle anywhere you want on the screen to unlock it, so I think they’re ok. But Motorola and Samsung may be screwed. Who knows though. We’ll just have to see what comes of this.

  • Pete

    More importantly, this feature had been here long before iPhone on an old Windows CE phone! This patent, like so many others should not have been granted…

    • kokhean

      Microsoft can potentially sue Apple then.

      • Jacob Nørgaard

        No they can’t. If Apple patented the idea, it doesn’t matter who actually did it first. Besides, which Windows CE phone was that? Haven’t seen slide to unlock on any of those.

      • Lee Chen

        “No they can’t. If Apple patented the idea…”

        Yes, they most certainly can. M$ should immediately petition to have the patent (and any related ones) invalidated on the grounds that it should never have been issued in the first place.

        Laws were, at one time, intended to codify natural reason. In modern times, we see how narrow-minded opportunists thoroughly exploit legal technicalities to prevent useful innovations from being a benefit to a wider audience. Apple is only the most egregious of these wholesale violators of basic human morality.

        It wouldn’t be too far a stretch of the imagination to envision Jobs trying to patent seated defecation. It’s just like him to say, “iToilet users rejoice! Everyone else must stand.”

  • http://none Nobel Prize

    Lol my brother has an android that has that gesture wonder if he’ll have to switch phones

  • anonisgay is gay

    Apple should take all apple farms to court and ban them from seeding, growing, and selling apples.

  • MisterExx

    Apple should patent the color blue just to really screw with everyone.

  • Jt

    Im gonna patent poop!!!