Apple wins against Motorola in slide-to-unlock patent suit

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slide to unlock patent diagram

The topic in the latest Apple patent war is the slide-to-unlock feature on some of Motorola Mobility’s Android devices. A Munich court ruled in favour of Apple, who patented the feature in 2010, and placed an injunction on the sale of Motorola devices with the technology in Germany.

It’s unclear how long the court-ordered ban will last, as Motorola has already indicated it plans to appeal the judgement.

The slide-to-unlock feature (which allows users to unlock their phone by swiping their finger across the screen) is featured on some of Motorola’s Android smartphones, as well as Apple’s iPhone.

A spokesperson for Motorola said that the ruling only “concerns a software feature related to phone unlocking in select Motorola devices sold in Germany.” The company does not anticipate any impact on the sale of phones with this technology, as it has “implemented a new design” for future devices.

The ruling is the latest in a host of patent litigation between Apple and its competitors. The company has also taken legal action against other manufacturers using Android, including HTC and Samsung, and reportedly spent over US$100-million (approximately R776- million) on legal fees in 2011.

The legal battles could soon involve search giant Google, as the company recently received approval of its proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility from the European Commission. Google announced its intention to purchase the mobile manufacturer in August last year.

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