Apple Strengthens “Swipe-to-Unlock” Patent Claim

Apple’s claim on a patent covering its “swipe-to-unlock” method for unlocking iOS devices was strengthened Tuesday with the issuance of a new patent. The new patent should add to the weight of Apple’s patent infringement claims against Android device makers like HTC.

The patent is summed up as “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image” and “moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path.” This has become a gesture that most iPhone users can perform blindfolded.

Apple Patent Figure

Apple Patent Figure

Apple was granted a patent in 2010 for the method for an application filed in 2005. That patent stands, but Apple filed a new patent that includes new patent references to support the claims. The new patent includes references to five additional international patents

At the same time, we should note that a court in the Netherlands said in August of this year that an EU patent corresponding to Apple’s original swipe-to-unlock patent was likely invalid because it was obvious.

MGG Jim and Bryan Chaffin contributed to this article