Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Loses “Swipe To Unlock” Patent Battle
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has suffered a setback in Germany after the country’s top court ruled against it in a patent dispute. The court found that it wasn’t right in the first place to grant Apple a copyright on “swipe to unlock” technology. Apple has been battling over the issue with Motorola, which is currently owned by Chinese company Lenovo.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will have to eat humble pie in Germany as the grueling patent battle with Motorola over the “swipe to unlock” feature comes to an unfavorable end for the iPhone maker. Having been unsatisfied by an earlier ruling that effectively emptied its claim to the “swipe to unlock” patent in Europe, Apple sought the opinion of the top court in Germany. However, when the ruling came to be made on the matter, the verdict failed to grant Apple’s wishes.
Not a new technology
The court found that the “swipe to unlock” feature wasn’t a new technology. It emerged in the ruling that even before Apple brought the feature to its iPhones, a Swedish company had already commercialized it.
According to Germany’s patent laws, there are certain specific conditions that a software program must meet to qualify for copyright protection. For example, a software program should be able to solve a technical problem through a technical solution before a patent can be awarded. As such, it turned out that Apple’s “swipe to unlock” technology didn’t meet the patent requirement. The feature was found to be merely a graphic add-on that lacked technical solution.
The judges at the Germany’s top court that heard Apple’s case established that the “swipe to unlock” only made it easier to use a phone but never featured any technical advancement.
Injunction against Motorola
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in 2012 successfully obtained an injunction on the sale of Motorola smartphones based on the disputed patent (EP1964022). The appeal on the injunction matter is currently pending in court as the case was stayed pending the outcome of the matter before Germany’s top court.
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