Apple wins right to ban Motorola smartphones using ‘slide-to-unlock’ feature

Apple wins right to ban Motorola smartphones using ‘slide-to-unlock’ feature

Apple has won what could be a permanent injunction against an array of Motorola Smartphones in a German court which use a ‘slide-to-unlock’ patent, reports Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. The decision was made with regards to two Motorola smartphones that use a swiping motion to unlock them.

There were three embodiments of the argument brought forth for Motorola using EP1964022, which is Apple’s European patent that refers to using an image and a gesture to unlock it. The one that applied to the Motorola Xoom failed but a large number of smartphones were found to infringe.

It is completely likely at this point that we will see an appeal by Motorola, as this is a system that it uses, in one shape or form, on almost all of its devices. Apple is also using the same patent against Samsung in another case in Germany, so it is likely feeling pretty good about its chances after this.

It’s not only Motorola devices that use the ‘slide-to-unlock’ motion either, nearly every Android device currently being made by Samsung, HTC and whomever else uses a variant of that action.

After a string of losses like the one last November and another in December against Motorola that briefly threatened a ban of Apple devices in Germany, this is likely a welcome reversal for Apple. Motorola still has an open action against Apple in a Florida court against the iPhone 4S and iCloud. Apple recently struck back with an argument centered around a FRAND defense and a Qualcomm licensing deal.

While this isn’t a landmark decision, there is absolutely a threat to Android overall here. If Apple is able to make this stick and, more importantly, is able to successfully exercise a ban against Motorola devices that use the slide-to-unlock motion, it could mean danger for any Android device to do so.

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