Apple has filed a complaint in Germany against Samsung claiming that its Galaxy Nexus infringes on the ‘Slide to Unlock’ patent. This complaint came within few hours after the court rejected Samsung’s claim on Apple infringing some of its patents. Apple’s complaint was on a ‘utility model’ type patent on the ‘slide to unlock’. Apple has now filed complaint against Samsung, HTC and Motorola in Germany on the same patent.
There has already been an instance earlier when a Dutch judge rejected Apple’s claim that Samsung infringed into the ‘Slide to Unlock’ patent. Samsung was able to prove that ‘Slide to unlock’ existed in devices earlier to the IPhone. Neonode as Swedish manufacturer had a ‘Slide to unlock’ type of functionality in it Neonode N1m phone running Windows CE even before the first IPhone was released. The Dutch judge called the Apple’s slide to unlock patent to be ‘possibly invalid’.
The new complaint from Apple comes after it was granted another patent (8,046,721) for the same to ‘Slide to unlock’ feature by the USPTO in October 2011. Meanwhile Apple’s previous patent (7,657,849) on the same function was granted by the USPTO in February 2010. With the first patent called ‘possibly invalid’ by the Dutch judge, the courts only will have to tell if the second patent can prevent Android using a slide to unlock. But since the second patent is based on the first patent it is a possibility that the second patent can also be invalidated.
This complaint specifically targeting on the Galaxy Nexus, seems to be a surprise. The latest version of Android – Ice cream sandwich that runs on the Galaxy Nexus has a slightly different slide to unlock. It’s unclear if the Apple’s patents cover the new ICS’s ‘Slide to Unlock’. But to layman both the Apple patents look very similar. Meanwhile Google has also applied for patent on its Grid pattern lock that comes in the Android phones. All Android fans will hope that Apple’s patent are invalidated and we continue to have Slide to Unlock in Android phones.