10
Oct
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Following up on last year's slide-to-unlock patent grab (which itself built on a patent granted in 2010), Apple has been granted another, yet more expansive slide-to-unlock patent, one which ditches the previous patents' emphasis on "predefined paths" in favor of more ambiguous language covering the movement of an unlock image to "an unlock region" on a device's display.

While US Patent 8,286,103 is largely similar to Apple's previous two slide-to-unlock, its language is considerably broader. The logic of the patent is not concerned with what path a user takes to unlock a device, nor where the user starts or stops that path, just that an unlock image is moved "from the first location to an unlock region."

Essentially, the language of the patent has been loosened to cover workaround solutions (presumably like the circle locks of Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean) and, ostensibly, to ensure that pretty much any method of unlocking a device through a continuous touch movement is protected.

As the Verge points out, Apple's grabbing of the '103 patent represents a common practice in the US in which patent owners can be granted "continuation" patents before a patent issues, usually to increase the scope of the original claim. Apple evidently used this process again in July to file yet another continuing patent before '103 was granted, so it's likely we haven't seen the last entry in the slide-to-unlock patent saga just yet.

While it isn't clear if, how, or when Apple may use this new patent, odds are we will see its effects soon, either in further design workarounds, or yet more legal action. Either way, we'll be here to deliver the details. Look below for the full patent.

Via The Verge

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • http://twitter.com/namd88 Nam Dang

    American legal system has again disappointed me.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dc4316 Ismael Rodriguez

    I know a lot of readers post comments insinuating that Apple has patent officers or judges in their pockets, but this really is just ridiculous. Our patent system is beyond broken. It's corrupt, disfigured, and unintelligible.

  • Nick

    for the love of ron jeremy! are you serious apple?!

  • skynet11

    I despise Apple's exploitation of a flawed patent system to legally corner the market and and establish a monopoly.

    • PINJ

      Exploitation?...... Lets Back Up The Facts Shall We?.... 2005: Apple Creates A Phone That Can Slide To Unlock.... Nobody Else Does That.... 2007: Google/OHA Create A System That Can Slide To Unlock..... Alot Of Other OS Follow Suit.... These Are Hard True Facts. If I Was Apple, You CAN BET That I Would Lock Down My Patents After Seeing People Take My Route And Somehow Legally Profit From It Without My Permission.
      And I Welcome Anyone Who Has The Guts To Give Me Votes Down (Which Is Cowardly By Itself Without Reason) To Properly Debate My Point.

      • stevos
      • dangerousjenny

        Hmmmm I am pretty sure there were feature phones with touch screens that had a slide.to.lock. apple did not invent touch screens. and they did not invent everything on smartphones. they also.stole stuff as much as other os have.

      • skynet11

        1. The pate nt should never have been granted to begin with http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/apples-slide-to-unlock-patent-ruled-invalid-in-htc-court-case-2012075/
        2. Apple only copied a featurephone function for swiping left-to-right. Where unlocks like the circles in ICS and JB are concerned, Apple has no right to patent them, because they didn't invent them.

      • theentropic

        Why The Hell Do You Find It Necessary To Capitalize Every Word You Type?! (In Case You Haven't Realized, I'm Mocking You To Show You How Ridiculous Your Sentence Structure Looks By Capitalizing)

        • Greyhame

          Seriously. So ridiculous it's amusing.

        • Ranger666

          He's Using An Iphone.

        • Nicholas Semrau

          Yeah, I tried to politely tell him about his erroneous use of title case a while back. I don't think that he got the message.

          • mikeym0p

            OH he's an actual reader? I thought he was a troll.

      • Jei Arc

        You are in correct in mostly everything, you are correct that apple created a phone that can slide to unlock but you are incorrect that they were the first one to do it. However they submitted a different implementation, remember claim language is specific to implementation.
        Furthermore only Samsung had used a very closed approach to what apple did, Android since 3.0 Honeycomb (truly i can't remember how froyo and GB did it) uses a completely different implementation, you may argue that is the same thing, slide to unlock, but like i said Apple escaped the Neonode by requiring 2 images to be present at the lock screen, and as such with the same language Android avoids infringement because when the screen is lock Android only displays a single image. Remember what is covered under patent law is the claims and their interpretation.

      • Mike

        Why stop at unlock, why not broaden it to the touchscreen 'slide'? then collect a penny every time an angry bird is launched

      • Dan

        Yes, let's do back up the facts, fanboy.

        In 2002 Neonode patented using a slide/swipe gesture to make a touchscreen device perform functions. The slightly predates Apple's slide to unlock.

        Sorry about screwing up your day with real facts.

      • Slayernet

        This is an innovation not an invention! This makes me sick

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667020551 Jose Torres

        iPhone was commercially released in 2007, NOT 2005. Legally, they should have patented that feature BEFORE then to make it exclusively theirs, but no it was first patented in 2010 long after Android and others released devices with similar features.

      • Kindroid

        Prior art....Apple idiot. This is why thinking people dislike Apple fanbois so much. You can't see....even obvious Apple FUD.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

        you were proven wrong already here
        now go back to your isheep

      • http://twitter.com/zmarteney Zach Marteney

        If You Capitalize Every Word, People Will Assume You're Correct. Apple's Patent Probably Has Every Word Capitalized In The Original Draft.

      • Asphyx

        Excuse me but slide to unlock was available under WinMo before Apple ever released an iPhone.
        SO sorry Apple boy your just dead wrong because you probably had a flip phone until GOD (spelled Jobs) told you it was lame to have one here buy my device instead.

      • BCSC

        Hey dumb dumb, their vote downs have reason. You are wrong. Slide to unlock was done before Apple. THAT is hard fact. Read more often. Big ups for some quality trolling though.

      • EliRox

        Mine has a whole cover image I slide out of the way. Looks like tinted glass. Actually looks nothing like apples image

  • DeadSOL

    Well, there's no question as to which company and OS Apple will target with this patent. Ugh. Screw Apple!

  • oneillperson

    Oh, Apple.

  • Ze Belchior

    I hope they give as much thought into fixing their I Phone 5 camera problem. That will show that they are really interested in the customer rather than achieving monopoly

  • cy_n_ic

    This comment has been retracted due to an apple patent on opinions.

    • anywherehome

      die Apple!

  • Tee

    There is a lot to be fixed in the US patent system. This just looks like some b-class horror movie.

    How do you use your touch phone if not by touching?

    • PINJ

      You Answered Your Own Question There Buddy

      • Nashoba Darkwolf

        Does the word "rhetorical" every ring any bells in that brain of yours? Also please turn off autocorrect on your iWhatever that you are using, capital letters for each word is just annoying to read.

        • NeedName

          you have incorrectly assumed that he/it has a brain. he/it has clearly demonstrated that is is brainless.

      • Jay

        PINJ you obviously only come to AP to argue your idiotic beliefs.
        So sad man if I lived near you I would spend 20 minutes with you kicking the soccer ball to boost your confidence because it's clear that you have no friends or life.
        Where do you live?
        Actually on second thoughts don't tell me where you live, I'd probably smack you down and take your precious iphone to use as a sanding block.

  • mesmorino

    America strikes me as the kind of place where abuse of the system (regardless of how good or bad it is to begin with) is actively encouraged... By the system itself.

    I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Apple tried to patent the entire concept of a smartphone... And I would be even less surprised if they were granted the patent.

    • PINJ

      EVERY COUNTRY IS LIKE THAT... Please... Wake Up

      • mesmorino

        Calm your tits love, it was just an observation. I haven't got the time or the inclination to be dissing a whole country for the crazy antics of one company. Especially not on the internet of all places.

        • nwd1911

          You just used one of the best phrases I have ever hear with "calm your tits love." Thank you for making my day brighter. Not often do I get a literal LOL.

    • Nashoba Darkwolf

      Mes, you should look into recent cases where corporations in America were granted "personhood" meaning they are now living, breathing people with all the rights of a human being. You should also look up the recent ballot measures where majorities are voting on the rights of same-sex families to be recognized under law in their states; a measure that is strictly forbidden by the 14th amendment and the 5th amendment of our own constitution.

      • Hidden_Gecko

        Does that mean they have more rights than homosexuals?
        Can't wait for the time when mergers become known as Marriage so they can get tax breaks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Diaz/100000639956723 William Diaz

    Id pray for Steve Jobs to die over this, but turns out my praying worked. Now I pray Tim Cook keels over. Im tired of their Nazi run, Scientology-like litigious cult..er..company, goes under again. Microsoft was NEVER this bad.

    • http://jeremyperez.com Jeremy

      Reminds me of this XKCD.

    • Mike Smith

      Praying for somebody to die is quite excessive don't you think. It is just plain immature and you need your head examined. Just my two sense. Is it that serious. I agree with this being wrong but to wish death upon someone is just plain immature and sick.

      • Al McDowall

        @ William - I totally agree with Mike
        @ Mike - "2 cents" as in two hundredths of an American dollar

        • Jason

          Or two hundredths of any dollar :)

        • Amer Khaznadar

          Not unless he's Spider-Man. Then he would have two senses, a normal sense and tingly spider sense.

          • DCMAKER

            funny but that would be a 6th sense: hearing, sight, touch, smell, taste, AND SPIDEY SENSE

      • SuckItDown

        Boo hoo.

    • QwietStorm

      As pathetic as it is for such a successful corporation to focus so much on stifling competition and exploiting the powers that be, the fact that you would wish death on someone over a plastic and aluminum device, and get thumbs up for your efforts, is rather depressing. You don't actually pray at all though, right? You don't pray for someone's death.

      • Loren Cogar

        Who are you to tell this man how to pray?

        • QwietStorm

          And here goes another one. I'm not telling anyone how to pray, but if you are speaking to God and asking for the death of another person, ESPECIALLY in regards to patents on a cell phone, you obviously missed some integral parts on everything. And again, the difference between thumbs up and thumbs down, and the fact that some of us are even being questioned on this is not even depressing. It's mind boggling.

          • GraveUypo

            it's a sad fact that a huge part of all prayers are indeed asking for death or cursing someone. just goes to show how rotten people can get.

          • ssj4Gogeta

            I'm not saying I'm for or against the comment, but you do realize that it might be more than just a matter of a "plastic and aluminium device"? They might be slowing down the progress of technology.

            May not be very obvious right now, but imagine what could happen in 10 years if they're left unchecked. No one dare compete with Apple products because they'd be sued into oblivion. Imagine if it were Apple that controlled the most popular services on the Internet instead of Google. Do you think they'd be freely available on multiple platforms including those of competitors? Do you think such a significant part of it would have freely available APIs or they'd promote open source so much?

    • PINJ

      How Can PPl Vote This Up??

      • SuckItDown

        How Can You Not Know How To Write Properly?

  • Danny Thompson

    The fundamental flaw in the American patent system is that it allow, and even encourages, offensive patenting rather than defensive. This is a classic example of how the patent system can effectively wipe out any possible competition by refining the vagueness to a point where patent violation by others is inevitable. It, in fact, ensures that such violation will occur. How, then, can competition be developed encouraged if there is only one game in town?

    Apple are heading the way of SCO where, in time, all they will have is patent litigation to earn their keep from. The Champ to Chump circle appears to be in full rotation for Apple.

    • PINJ

      Good Point

  • Daniel Cathers

    Someone should email Apple a picture of a chain door lock and let them know they didn't invent slide to unlock.

    • apomk2

      If the case ends up in front of Koh again we'll probably have to recall all chain door locks and pay Apple billions in damages.

    • PINJ

      They... Kind Of Did.... There Was No Touchscreen Phone Before Them That Did That.

      • stevos

        Yes, there was. A Dutch court ruled that the patent is invalid, because all but one aspect of the original slide to unlock patent was pre-dated and anticipated by Neonode.

        The remaining aspect of it (placing an image under the finger) was deemed obvious. Because it obviously is obvious.

      • Dan
        • BCSC

          That is correct , but Apple was the first to put it on a rounder rectangle, with a well manicured finger sliding, attached to a douchebag iPhone owner. All these things wrapped into one give apple their patent. We will likely see Apple try to expand their patent with a continuation application to cover their "innovation" of having said douchebag wear hipster glasses.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

        you sir are wrong go back to your isheep

      • anonymous

        They didn't invent Binary. The phone is programmed with 1s and 0s. So therefore they are infringing on someone else's inventions. If anything they should be able to patent the structure of code used to create this "slide to unlock". Patenting something like a gesture is like patenting and alarm clock. The way they are going about this is like saying, you can't built an alarm clock because it functions like this other alarm clock that has been patented, regardless of style or shape.

      • P1NJ
  • cooldoods

    US patent system= broken

  • Vigi

    So if android already uses such method before the method was patented, apple surely can't take android to court for patent infringements?

    • DCMAKER

      they will...and probably win

    • PINJ

      Mmmm... Its Likely That They Could On The Grounds That They Created Slide To Unlock Before Android Did. Plus Them Having The Patent.

      • DCMAKER

        just stop talking....spare us your useless banter.

    • nsnsmj

      Unfortunately they can. Since this is a continuation of an older patent, this would go by the original patent's date. So even though Google and basically all the OEMs have come up with workaround before Apple applied for this continuation patent, Apple can go and add even broader terms to it.

      It's basically bullshit.

      If Google makes a workaround, Apple can essentially add to their original patent to cover the workaround, even if Google or any other company did it before Apple. It shouldn't even be allowed.

      • Jei Arc

        you are incorrect, apple cannot add anything to the specification, please stop spreading nonsense, if you are not familiar with the patent system just don't give false information.
        The continuation allows for language that was previously submitted to be included but it also limits to what language can be added in the claims.
        Apple can't simply add whatever they want to the claims is called a 112 1st rejection for adding new matter and it won't be allowed.
        Further more by reading the claims you can clearly see that android 3.0 and on doesn't infringe on any of Apple's patent not even this new one.
        Also people keep bringing up the Neonode case and is a good case but you need to read the whole claim and reject the whole claim, Neonode needs to be combined with something else to come up with Apple's claims this would be a 103 (a) rejection. and need to have a logical base for combination.
        People keep trashing the patent system without even taking a look into it or at least try to understand the patent procedure, I know the system is not perfect and companies do abuse it but is not as simple and black & white and as broken as people are trying to portray it.

  • Tim

    How can they get this granted now when Google released ICS last year with this ability to directly unlock to the camera app? I don't understand how they keep getting these broad patents when products previously released featured many of these features. I am totally done with Apple. I will buy all their competitors products consistently from now on. Let them sell patent infringing products, as long as people keep buying them, their competitors can afford to pay the penalties. This is just absolutely f*cking ridiculous.

    • Alvin B.

      Unless you were already buying Apple products until now, being "totally done with Apple" is pretty pointless.

      The problem is, the iSheep don't read blogs like this, and they think that those who complain are just a bunch of sour grapes.

      • http://www.facebook.com/michaelgonzalez2012 Michael Gonzalez

        The worst part is that the iSheep actually believe that Apple came out with the feature first.

        • PINJ

          Apple Came Out With The Feature First. Wow Look At That.

          • John

            Moron Fathead

          • P1NJ

            I Am A Total Idiot Who Does Not Understand Anything. I Am Clearly An ISheep Who Likes Proving What An Uneducated Dumbshit I Am.

            seriously though, how can you be so blind/stupid that you cannot see beyond what apple tell you to think? For every single apple patent, there is a device that was released before them with that feature. Slide to unlock was definately used before apple included it.

    • ssj4Gogeta

      My Galaxy S was doing the same thing (swipe in any direction to unlock) in July 2010. The patent was filed in August 2011.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1559995258 Alec Smith

    Personally I don't even like lock screens.

  • Mike C.

    While I despise Apple's closed content universe (which
    Microsoft seems to be copying), Apple is just using the patent framework to its
    fullest extent. If I were an Apple stockholder I would expect nothing
    less.

    The problem in this case is not Apple - it is the patent
    system. Corporations are entities that have only one purpose in life: rewarding
    stockholders for their investment. They are not thinking entities that can have
    compassion, feelings, know right from wrong, etc. They are just a set of
    agreements as to create wealth for their stockholders (and this is the way it
    should be).

    Corporations need boundaries to operate within. Those
    boundaries are called laws. Remember that when you chose the people who make
    the laws. If patent laws are changed, Apple will change too.

    • Jonas S

      While I appreciate a philosophical stance, yours (henceforth known as 'relativist bullshit') miss a lot of finer points. I've seen it a lot lately and it's naive totalitarianism is equally pathetic and unsettling. That companies are singular entities that desire nothing but profit is simply absurd. If it were so, we'd have nothing but casinos the world over and a flourishing marketplace built on real people’s real work and real dreams would be an ontological impossibility.

      • PINJ

        Thats Exactly How It Is. -_-
        Why Are So Many People Answering Their Own Arguments?

        • SuckItDown

          Please Stop Replying To Everything With Your Idiocy

    • http://www.facebook.com/InfiniteStrike Shane Downes

      Corporate Social Responsibility, look it up dick.

      • Mike C.

        CSR is just marketing. Invented for stupid people to think companies care.

  • Alvin B.

    It wasn't even FILED until 2011 and it was granted? Are they on serious drugs at the patent office or what?

    Someone should VISIT the Patent Office and ask these guys personally just what the hell they're up to!

    • DCMAKER

      true that was a very fast patent.......

    • Luxferro

      The patent office people must hold a lot of Apple stock. It's probably why their patents get pushed through.

      • Jei Arc

        @ Alvin it was filed in 2011 as a continuation of a 2005 case so it receives the original date. As such it is easier to look at a case that already spend 5 years and make a decision faster even with the knowledge of Noenode other art must be present in order to create a good ground for rejection. If you can come up with art relevant to the field of invention then please post it. This is will help the office a lot.
        @ Luxferro no the PTO does not hold Apple stock, and the office does try to stay on top of news and current litigation this is how law gets updated and/or modified. Patents get allowed because there is no proper prior art or combination thereof that would present good grounds for rejection.

        • Luxferro

          Oh okay, so when Google comes out with another method to work around Apple's patents, Apple can just file another continuation with the new method. Makes sense...

          The patent system is so flawed and broken.

          • Jei Arc

            No they cant, i posted previously an answer to this.
            Apple cannot add anything to the specification.
            The continuation allows for language that was
            previously submitted to be included but it also limits to what language
            can be added in the claims.
            Apple can't simply add whatever they
            want to the claims is called a 112 1st rejection for adding new matter
            and it won't be allowed.
            Furthermore Android since Honeycomb is not infringing on any of apple's patent. they implementation is very different.
            If apple attempted to add a similar implementation similar to Android's implementation they will have to submit what is called a "Continuation In Part" also known as CIP, and then they could add new matter but this will remove the priority date. By doing this i can simply take a bunch of pictures of honeycomb and present it as prior art.
            There is a lot more to the patent system that you are not aware about, if you like to learn more try to read the MPEP "Manual of Patent Examination Procedure" is available to the public.

          • James

            Let's just say I have a patent for a drink I made. I know I know, you can't patent a drink, but let's say. In the patent it list ingredients to make the drink. A few months later I find a company making an almost identical drink. So I go back to my patent and instead of listing the ingredients, I just say that my drink is wet. So any wet drink now infringes my patent. Pretty cool ah?

          • Jei Arc

            ok well here is the technicality, you can actually patent the formula for a drink, you know it contains 4% of water, .5 % carbon dioxide, etc... until you list all the chemical in your drink formula. Now about your specific inquiry, no you cannot patent the drink is wet, it a law of nature, all liquids are "wet" (even if they rip your skin off) you cannot patent laws of nature is a 101 rejection

  • lolobabes

    this is too late already, prior art is everyhere lol

  • http://twitter.com/acmilan77051 utsav roy

    fuck apple..i am damn sure they bribe those ITC jerks to get these bullshit patents..

    • Jei Arc

      even if they did bribe the ITC it would not matter ITC doesn't allow patents the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does. Try to get a little more information.

      • http://twitter.com/acmilan77051 utsav roy

        yeah mixed it up..sorry,but i think apple bribes both offices, one to get the patents, and other one to protect their ass...

  • http://www.facebook.com/koniczynek Michał Droździewicz

    In one way or another it's good - I liked workarounds better than the original boring slide to unlock hipster thing for apple fanboys. Now Android will come up with another way of unlocking device screen which will be better than lames iphone style. We all can benefit from this.

    • Alan

      Android already has more options to unlock than that lame thing that Apple call a phone so your argument is invalid!!!

    • Alan

      Android already has multiple ways to unlock a device, unlike that lame thing that Apple call a phone so your argument is invalid!!!

    • ari_free

      "Now Android will come up with another way of unlocking device screen which will be better than lames iphone style"

      and Apple will file a patent on it and win. :/

  • Brian Knapp

    ‹^›ô¿ô‹^› FU Apple

  • keyrune sasuke

    Another greedy money patent from Apple. Bravo!

  • BrainOfSweden

    This is hilarious. I won't be surprised if the Mayans got it right and the world ends in 2012, due to Apple patenting any type of lifeform -.-'

  • http://twitter.com/MyndMayze John

    Scumbag move patenting something that ISN'T even incorporated in their own OS, yet is already on android devices. Their antics are petty and sad...

  • Ckavvouras

    lol i love how apple is taking thing that have been around since before it has been aroud like gravity, rubber, friction and lets not forget the big one like geometry and is being granted patents, the should just gey the patent for thought snd get it over with, that should cover everything lol

    • John O’Connor

      but they already have physics based patents such as screen bounce (gravity??)

  • Sam

    Soon they will patent slide down for notifications.

    • Alan

      Don't Google have a patent for that already?

      • anooonymooos

        No, they have filed for it, but it has been over 4 years.

    • PINJ

      They Won't

  • xnay

    When you're starting to lose ground and can't compete with the hardware itself you look for other ways. Apple surely knows their iPhone is in a completely different position now, regarding the competition, than it was 5 years ago.

    And BTW: I'm amazed with what you can patent in the US. Has anyone patented the wheel yet?

    • PINJ

      I Think Its Only Right To Patent The Things You Came Out First With Before Your Competition

  • fewesttwo

    How can they patent this when their is blatant prior art from Google/AOSP and all the other OEM venders. Sense had the silly drag the unlock image over an app icon or region to unlock years ago. Now Apple can just pull the lawsuit trigger on all the venders so they have to do something new. Apple dont innovate. They just sue their competitors until they come up with something new. How long until a fanboy argues that Apple invented the slide one image to another image to unlock a device, and then provide a patent application to do it.

    Apple must have a whole team of engineers and lawyers whose sole job is to look at other systems, see what they do, then get a lawyer to check if it is patented and if not, grab the patent then sue them.

    • PINJ

      Sense Didnt Have It Before 2007. Apple Did.

      • odoyle

        Keep ignoring the fact that Apple only stole it before anyone else... from Neonode... don't let history beyond Apple's get in the way of your Apple leg-humping..

  • EricG

    if it becomes an issue, two simple solutions can change the unlock method on other devices.
    1. Don't move a picture, but only detect the movement from one point (picture) to another, maybe showing ripples where you move your finger.
    2. After you move a picture to an endpoint show something else, like a confirmation box, so the last will actual unlock the screen.
    Apple, only you are not allowed to use these solutions and will be sued if you do so :P

  • IncCo

    OH COME ON! This is beyond ridiculous !

  • blub

    how much did a**le pay (again) for that decission?

  • Funem

    Someone should show this to Apple, it was out long before they had anything to "swipe to unlock" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-KS2kfIr0

    • PINJ

      -_- Have You Looked Up On Neonodes History Then Just On Youtube?

      • SuckItDown

        Have You Looked Up On The Proper Use Of Capital Letters?

  • ScottyByrd

    Wouldn't prior art come into play here? Being that different directions and/or circles and what not to unlock have been out prior to this BS patent?

  • ssj4Gogeta

    The patent was filed on August 5, 2011. Samsung had a similar unlock screen in the Galaxy S in July 2010 (where you could swipe in any direction). Won't that invalidate the patent?

    • Jei Arc

      No, the patent is a continuation of the original filed in 2005 so it receives the priority date.

      • ssj4Gogeta

        What exactly counts as a "continuation"? Can you file a patent for a specific implementation, then keep broadening the claim regardless of other people's innovation?

        • Jei Arc

          no, it doesn't work exactly like that.
          Is all based on the original disclosure if you submit an application you can patent anything that is encompass by the original disclosure, a continuation maybe another embodiment meaning something that performs the functionality very similar as the original case, so long as this "functionality" is cover by the original disclosure.
          Getting back to the patent that was allowed i am beginning to think that the examiner may had been a little too lenient with it. I am not saying he is wrong just saying he should have looked a little closer.
          Companies can add more subject matter to the original disclosure but this is call a Continuation In Part, meaning the new subject matter does not receive the priority date, and as such can be rejected with any art that has a date that beats the filing date.

        • Jei Arc

          well that question is actually kind of tricky, the answer is yes and no, YES you could so long as the specific language is present in the parent application, so if you introduce even one "limiting" word in the new claim set that is not in the parent application then NO. This becomes a really gray area and this is how companies abuse the system and hence we have this type of cases being allowed.
          By the way i should put a disclaimer here, don't take me or my comments as an expert in the field i know about the system but the patent system is a very very very (let me stress VERY) convoluted system and that is why even judges use prior cases to use as templates. My comments and opinions are my own they do not represent any institution, corporation or organization, they are mine and mine alone and i keep them, i am greedy like that!!! :P

  • cguella

    F Apple. In other news Ford won a patent and is suing GM over the door feature on their new car. Patent 100001 covers the swing opening of a car door to "enter or exit a vehicle." Ford is seeking an injunction against all car manufacturers to cease and desist. The patent office did not return calls because they couldn't hear the phone ring with their heads so far up their ass.

  • Amer Khaznadar

    So, are we going to have to fist bump the touchscreen on the next version of Android or what now?
    Actually, that doesn't sound like a bad idea. BRB, patenting it.

    • John O’Connor

      Will we need to pay royalties to the jersey shore?

  • Krzysztof Głodowski

    Why American patent law is so retarded? WTF?

  • Webs

    I think the bigger issue here is that Apple is getting closer and closer to being granted a general "visual feedback to touch inputs" patent. The patent issuing officers should be looking at the broader impact of the patents they are issuing. Its not important that they issued a patent to unlock a screen, even though that in itself isnt an innovation.

    What is important is that they issued a patent for dragging a finger over a general region on a screen along with some sort of visual feedback to make the device perform a task. This concept is so broad that it would be hard to find a limit to where the patent ends.

    I dont know really anything about patent history, but to me this is like being issued a patent for "click and drag with a box showing up over the area" Its like issuing a patent for wheels, and then saying to everyone who makes a car, they need to license the wheel technology.

  • Bariman43

    Disgusting. I can see the innovation dying before my very eyes with every one of these broken, corrupt, broad, pathetic, lawsuit-generating, money-wasting, innovation-killing patents. This applies to all companies. Google, Apple, Micro$oft, Motorola, Samsung, etc. etc. This nonsense needs to stop.

  • Chickfila25

    Pattern unlock is better anyway..

    • http://twitter.com/PCSievers P.C. Sievers

      and now probably owned by Apple given the swipe itself is an image that is being moved around to a point to unlock the device

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.c.sugrue James Sugrue

    Do the windows at Foxconn swipe to unlock, before the workers jump out?

  • br_hermon

    Apple (tyrannical bully) + US Patent Office (total morons) = COMPLETE FAIL!

  • DavidKeith

    So Apple has been in court for this very patent issue and its was a nasty battle... so what does the Patent Office do? They award them a brouder patent so they can't lose the case again?

    something seems fishy to me and just because I love Google and think Apple is a BiTCH <-- lower case "i" :)

  • Sqube

    For a second there, I really thought this bullshit might be over once Motorola dropped their entire case. Apparently Apple just took that as a sign of weakness.

    I look forward to Apple suing literally every other manufacturer (except for RIM, I guess? I don't know what they use to unlock) in the near future.

    Someone remind me how this is great for innovation? I'm having a hard time seeing it.

  • Robert Jakiel

    Apple needs to just plain die. I mean die. Tim Cook needs to follow his mentor to the grave so I can dance on both of their corpses. Seriously this is getting way out of hand. The USPTO needs to be gutted and patent law reformed. The patent reviewers are complete idiots which shouldn't shock anyone because they work for the federal government and as history has taught us they don't hire the brightest.

  • Nonplus

    I'm surprised it's not worded so that no-one is allowed to unlock any device through any means.

    • John O’Connor

      Doesn't it though? Short of hardware buttons it seems ambiguous enough to cover any touch motion

  • Sven Enterlein

    I really wonder how big a gift basket the people working at US patent offices get every month from Cupertino. Must be delivered in a special van. This is outright ridiculous! I am ashamed once more for owning Apple products :(

    • Robert Jakiel

      My last Apple product was the Apple IIGS and never owned a MS product ever. Unix and Linux and the BSDs have been my operating systems of choice since the late 80's. I can't stand closed operating systems and closed ecosystems.

  • Vish

    Apple Sucks !!

  • ssj4Gogeta

    I wonder if Galaxy S3's unlock screen satisfies "unlock image moving to unlock region". Technically there's no image moving with your fingers, it's just ripple animation.

  • Ranger666

    Can I ask....WTF is wrong with Google? Why did they not think to patent this first? Not the slide to unlock, but the slide to anywhere on the screen to unlock? Just asking.

  • flosserelli

    Let Apple have all of their kitschy "slide-to-unlock" patents. Once Project Glass goes public, Apple's market share in mobile communications will effectively evaporate.

  • flosserelli

    Someone should create an animated lockscreen that unlocks by swiping dirt onto Steve Jobs' grave.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667020551 Jose Torres

    If I'm not mistaken, one can argue that since the slide to unlock feature has existed on phones OTHER than Apple's (prior to granting the initial patent in 2010), then the feature on this patent cannot be deemed exclusive to the patent holder...

  • GraveUypo

    sorry if this offends anyone, but USA is a virus to the legal world. I can't believe i'm actually reading this.

  • Nashoba Darkwolf

    Oh screw this... and SCREW YOU apple!!!

  • marcusmaximus04

    "The logic of the patent is not concerned with what path a user takes to unlock a device, nor where the user starts or stops that path, just that an unlock image is moved "from the first location to an unlock region.""

    Try looking at the ICS/JB unlock screen again. The user is *not* moving an image. The press-indicator used constantly shifts as the user moves it, making it look more like there's a static image that stays in place which is more opaque where the user's finger is.

    • Jon Garrett

      On my Galaxy devices, I swipe away the whole screen.

  • Kindroid

    In 1963, my first transistor radio had a slide on/off bar. You place your finger on the bar and SLID it to the right to turn it on....and to the left to turn if off. Some Apple flunky sat in a back room for 2 months to come up with the previously un-thought of "slide to open" gesture for the Iphone? This is so typical of most of Apple's "innovative" patents.

  • http://twitter.com/mxfox408 Jake Fox

    Why hasn't google patented the pull to unlock or the drag to unlock? Damn google wake the hell up, also what ever Happend to the notification pull down screen that google still has not been granted?

  • SourApple

    LATEST: Apple New patent using your hand to wipe your A$$
    from front to back has now been patented by the US Patent office, USBS. You now
    have to start wiping from back to front, warning this can cause infections of
    the mind if you work for Apple, since your head is up A$$

  • Ferret

    If Apple wants to cripple innovation so badly, why don't they just patent the power button and be done with it?

  • Matthew Fry

    *sigh*

  • apple_hater

    Let them patent away. Its doesn't matter what patents you have if you physical equipment is complete garbage.

    • apple_hater

      your*

  • Leppy

    Why doesn't everyone just share every idea they think of for stuff like this? That way everything would be so much more awesome T___T

  • Jesse

    As the happy owner of both a macbook and iPhone, i still have to say, i despise Apple's politics and their ridiculous exploitation of both the American patent system and the sheep-like actions and low intelligence of majority of their customers. I apologize for having given even a bit of money to this corporation.

  • EliRox

    yes apple i bought my galaxy S because of the slide... Not because it was a better device.

  • ROMFORD

    the only reason why i paid 500 bucks for my S3 is because of slide to unlock! WHAT WOULD I DO WITHOUT IT!

  • lrohenaz

    is every single person at the USPO freeking braindead?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jasonconort Jason Conort

    Soon no one will be able to have a lock screen but Apple? Seriously? They should just go ahead and give Apple a Monopoly on Smart Phones while at the same time slapping Google for having a "Monopoly" on search engines. When did Apple buy our legal system?

  • mikeym0p

    Wouldn't Jelly Bean be fine, you're not actually dragging any image. Instead to touch of your finger illuminates a portion of an image hidden.

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