Apple’s recent success in patenting the ‘Slide to Unlock’ gesture used on its iOS devices has the Taiwanese government worried, causing the country’s Premier (Prime Minister), Wu Den-yih, to direct a number of government agencies to assess whether Taiwanese companies will be affected by a possible restriction on the gesture.
Focus Taiwan reports that the government issued the request two days after the USPTO granted the world’s biggest technology company a patent that covers the unlocking mechanism on iPhone and iPad devices. Since the gesture was incorporated, both Windows Phone and Android devices have been seen to utilise the same mechanism.
The original patent was filed in December 2005, more than a year before the first iPhone was released.
Attending a weekly Cabinet meeting, Wu said that he was concerned about Apple’s new patent, particularly how it would affect Taiwanese companies operating in the smartphone and tablet markets. As a result, both the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) have been instructed to help domestic companies (which includes HTC) to deal with possible patent infringement complaints filed by the Cupertino-based company.
Apple is currently embroiled in a number of patent disputes with Samsung and HTC over claims of copying and use of specific software technologies in their Android devices. It is not known whether the company intends to utilise the Slide to Unlock patent against its rivals but the threat remains.