Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) pioneered its ubiquitous “slide to unlock” feature on its iPads and iPhones around the world. It has become such an easy way to unlock tablets and smartphones that many other companies have copies in their own way – there are variations or work-arounds that exist that allow these non-Apple handsets and tablets to come up with their own versions of the simple swipe-touch.
But a German patent court this week just ruled “Nein!” to the patent itself. Might this open the door for other companies to start using the same technology directly? Could this be an Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) signature that becomes part of the competitive free-for-all market now?
There has been a court battle between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Motorola Mobility – a subsidiary of Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) – in a German court regarding some patents, with the focus being on Apple’s “slide to lock” patent, called EP1964022 in Europe. The German patent court ruled this week that all Apple claims to the patent are invalid. The ruling came after a full-day hearing in which Apple presented 14 different claim amendments. Granted, ther was no real surprise from anyone – including Apple – that this would happen, but Cupertino is likely to appeal the ruling to the German federal court of justice. There is no confirmation as of yet that the appeal will happen.
This particular patent by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been a part of a couple of other rulings in Germany recently involving both Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. In February of last year, Apple won a permanent injunction against Motorola for using the slide-to-lock patent feature, but Apple had a similar lawsuit against Samsung thrown out in March of last year.
What are your thoughts about this? Can this have an impact in other patent battles Is this patent important to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the long run, or should it continue to fight for the patent claim? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.