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Android Patents Cellphones Handhelds The Courts United Kingdom Apple

In UK, HTC Defeats Apple's "Obvious" Slide Unlock Patent 165

Posted by timothy
from the patent-each-millimeter-as-unique dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a move that is likely to have wide-ranging implications for patent rulings around the world, a High Court Judge in the UK has ruled that HTC did not infringe on a number if Apple's patents. 'He said Apple's slide-to-unlock feature was an "obvious" development in the light of a similar function on an earlier Swedish handset.' Two other patents that Apple had claimed were infringed were ruled invalid, while a third was found not to apply to HTC. A statement from the Taiwanese firm said: 'HTC is pleased with the ruling, which provides further confirmation that Apple's claims against HTC are without merit. We remain disappointed that Apple continues to favour competition in the courtroom over competition in the marketplace.' Apple declined to comment on the specifics of the case. Instead it re-issued an earlier statement, saying: 'We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.'" This after a similar victory for HTC in a different venue, when Apple's request for an injunction on some HTC devices was rejected in the U.S.
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In UK, HTC Defeats Apple's "Obvious" Slide Unlock Patent

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  • by Bootsy Collins (549938) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:13AM (#40551111)
    Yesterday's discussion [slashdot.org]
    • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:21AM (#40551227) Homepage

      But this is a new day, and a whole new chance to bitch about lawyers and patents! If the masses don't get their Two Minutes Hate, they might actually start thinking, and we can't have that!

      Follow the hivemind! Corporations are bad!

      • Maybe the lawyers should stop doing so many things worth bitching about?
        • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:30AM (#40551351) Homepage

          As I've said before [slashdot.org], it's not that lawyers do so many stupid things. By and large, they don't. Rather, Slashdot (and other news outlets) reports on the few stupid things to get reactions from people, because a rousing discussion is more profitable than objective journalism.

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            No, lawyers don't do stupid things by and large, they do evil things. There's a difference. Their actions clearly make sense for them, because they make them lots of money. However, they harm other people and society with those actions, making them evil. It's just like someone stealing lots of money from people in a way that they don't get caught (perhaps robbing banks in a particularly clever way); it's not stupid, because it clearly takes skill to pull it off, but it only benefits them, and harms ever

            • by tehcyder (746570)
              It's got fuck all to do with lawyers, they're just the private soldiers pulling the trigger. It's the generals and politicians behind them that are the problem.
          • When lawyers do stupid things, it's largely because they are paid to do them. They represent the interests of their clients in regard to legal issues. Client says "we own slide to unlock," the lawyers they pay find ways to make that stick.

            This doesn't make me any more fond of the tactics they use in representing those interests, but it's important to realize that they aren't usually the driving force behind it.

            People like that nozzle Carreon notwithstanding....

            • So, in other words, instead of being the bank robber, they're the getaway driver. Being an accomplice doesn't make one less guilty.

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              So your excuse for these scumbags is "Befehl ist Befehl"?

              Some lawyers tried that defense before for their clients and it did not work, why would it work for the lawyers themselves?

              • Not an excuse, but a reminder that the lawyers aren't the only ones involved. Barking about only the lawyers won't be enough to fix these problems.

              • by tehcyder (746570)

                So your excuse for these scumbags is "Befehl ist Befehl"?

                Some lawyers tried that defense before for their clients and it did not work, why would it work for the lawyers themselves?

                It was generally the senior Nazis who ended up being executed for war crimes though, not the prison camp guards.

            • by Sarten-X (1102295)

              That's very true, to an extent. There are also ethical standards which a lawyer can be disbarred for breaking, and as I recall (though IANAL) if a lawyer thinks something is illegal, they are obligated to tell their client. An allegation being questionable, though, is not a reason to dismiss it... it's a reason to argue for clarification.

              Client says "this sliding thing is new", patent lawyer says "there's these older things, but they're all noticeably differently from ours", patent examiner says "okay, they

              • by tehcyder (746570)
                The whole field of intellectual property deals in civil issues that are more (or less) provable, not criminal acts that can be clearly defined.

                The problem lies in the huge weight that is given to property affairs compared with everything else.
          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            By and large, they don't. Rather, Slashdot (and other news outlets) reports on the few stupid things to get reactions from people, because a rousing discussion is more profitable than objective journalism.

            Your criticism of news outlets is warranted, but /. isn't about reporting news, it's about discussing it. The more rousing the discussion, the better.

          • That lawyer has only his clients' best interests in mind...said nobody ever.

      • by Jawnn (445279)

        Follow the hivemind! Corporations are bad!

        Please stop saying that. Nobody else is, so why do you persist? No, we're not. Really. What we are saying is that corporations are, by their very nature, incompatible with the well being of the citizens of the state that allows such entities to exist. Corporations have one mission, to create profit for their shareholders. Any action not in keeping with that mission is, arguably, a breach of the duties entrusted to those who run the show. We (the citizens), then, should not expect a corporation to do what we

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Follow the hivemind! Corporations are bad!

          Please stop saying that. Nobody else is, so why do you persist? No, we're not. Really. What we are saying is that corporations are, by their very nature, incompatible with the well being of the citizens of the state that allows such entities to exist. Corporations have one mission, to create profit for their shareholders. Any action not in keeping with that mission is, arguably, a breach of the duties entrusted to those who run the show. We (the citizens), then, should not expect a corporation to do what we regard as "the right thing". We should, then, rigorously monitor and regulate said corporation's behavior so that it will so the right thing WRT to the citizens who granted it's existence, and most definitely not the other way around.

          Short version: corporations are bad.

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        But once we sort out the patent/copyright system, the world will enter a new found period of peace, prosperity and perfect freedom.

        I'll be able to release my so-called infringing iPhone app - it'll make a million for me overnight.
  • Can we please.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:19AM (#40551197) Homepage

    Just end all software or method patents?

    This is the problem and until it is fixed more of this sillyness will happen.

    • That or the patent office should stop giving them out so haphazardly. It really would not shameful to tell Apple that no, they can't have a patent for "a box with buttons", but are more than welcome to pat themselves on the back.

      And for the record, slide to unlock has been around longer than even computers. They're called crossbar latches [wikipedia.org].

      • by edmicman (830206)

        But...it's implemented *on a computer*! Bang, that's a new patent! And don't forget another separate one for *on a mobile computer*...that's different enough, too! Someone better get in there and grab one for *on a wearable mobile computer* before someone takes it!

      • Patent the device, not what you do with it. There is absolutely no reason for software patents. Even less for where you put your control widgets in an interface, whether it be mechanical or digital. There is no temporary monopoly required while you gather the resources to build your software prototype, since those resources are virtual. Patents should be used to help inventors to get things prototyped. Software does not require that physical investment.

  • by CanEHdian (1098955) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:23AM (#40551257)
    So what is HTC doing right that Samsung is doing wrong?
    • It involves money, not engineering most likely.

      Keep sending the checks... we'd hate to see that nice code get broken...

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:23AM (#40551259)

    Apple is not nearly as innovative as the fanboyz think. Apple just protecting it's IP? Apple is stealing the IP from Android.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/how-ios-5-copied-android-2012-5#notifications-appear-at-a-bar-at-the-top-1

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:29AM (#40551343)

      And a good thing it is that they did it. Can you imagine if someone had patented the layout of the pedals in a car? You'd have to relearn driving every time you got into a different brand car. "Slide to unlock" is a user interface convention, not an invention. Other manufacturers don't do it because it's such an ingenious way of unlocking a phone. They do it to avoid confusing their users. And the same is true for putting notifications where users expect them.

      • After seeing Amazon patent "one click" I believe anything is fair game.

      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        "Slide to unlock" is a user interface convention, not an invention.

        While I don't think any patent on a slide-to-unlock widget should prevail, regardless of who claims it, I don't understand how it could be described as "obvious" or "conventional" when people had been making touchscreen handheld devices for a decade prior and had never used it. "Obvious in retrospect" isn't the same as "obvious".

      • An even better example: What if Internet RFCs were instead patents? Imagine where we would(nt) be today with that mess.

    • by zoloto (586738)
      I really hate this claim. This feature was on the Jailbreak appstore Cydia BEFORE android hocked it. I used it years ago, so wtf is this bullshit.
  • by wcrowe (94389) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:41AM (#40551485)

    Good ruling. Here are some other slide-to-unlock devices [robinsonsantiques.com] which have been around for a while.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:55AM (#40551647) Homepage Journal
    Apple should have gone with the "They're a rectangle" thing. Wonder why they didn't. Maybe HTC isn't rectangle-y enough.
  • by Zouden (232738) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @11:02AM (#40551741)

    Not only is this a dupe of another article on the front page [slashdot.org], the summary quotes the same BBC article. Doesn't Slashdot have a system for at least checking the URLs of submitted stories?

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