For what seems like the first time ever, Apple has won a patent dispute against Motorola. The ruling, which came today in a German court, is over the infamous “slide-to-unlock” patent that was granted to Apple in March 2010.
The Patent in Question
According to Floss Patents there were three main infringements evaluated by the courts. The first two were against Motorola’s smartphones which implement a “slide-to-unlock” gesture. Apple won both these rulings. The third examination came against the Motorola Xoom, which uses the slide-to-unlock circle (Which is pants by the way), Apple conceded in this section as the court deemed that the Xoom did not infringe on the “slide-to-unlock” patent that Apple owns.
Like all gracious losers, Motorola is planning to appeal, but they also claim that the ruling will have no impact on future sales. According to Motorola:
“Motorola has implemented a new design for the feature. Therefore, we expect no impact on current supply or future sales.”
According to Floss however, if Motorola are to play it safe in Germany, then they’ll have to modify their products so that they no longer infringe upon the patent. That means taking out slide-to-unlock, and putting in slide-to-unlock circle, which doesn’t infringe on the patent. If you believe Motorola, this ruling will have no effect on any of its products. However, as I mentioned before, slide-to-unlock circle is terrible. It’s not particularly intuitive, and it only works on big screens. Therefore this ruling will have a negative effect on the user experience, just don’t tell Motorola.
Any serial followers of the site will know that this patent is the same one that Apple is currently using to attack the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (for that full article, click here), however that device uses slide-to-unlock circle, and so it looks unlikely that they’ll succeed on that particular front.
It’s important to note that Google are in the process of buying Motorola, this will bring about a wider market share for MMI, which means this ruling is actually going to affect the Android market a whole lot more, so the ruling is pretty bad news, however it remains to be seen what the precise effects of the decision will be.
So there you have it. Apple has won its first patent row with Motorola. I know how much you all love lawsuits, so be sure to leave your opinion in the comments, or tweet me!