Published in Mobiles

Apple didn't invent "slide to unlock"

by on26 August 2015

Germany has another Martin Luther moment 

Apple management are waking up this morning facing an existential crisis, after discovering that Steve Jobs did not really invent the iconic "slide to unlock" feature on the iPhone.

Germany's highest court has ruled that Steve's slide to unlock is a little too similar to a bankrupt Swedish company's effort which was released a year before the iPhone.

It backs another ruling by the German patent court which also decided that the Neonode N1 had substantially similar technical features and Jobs' interface was not patentable.

Neonode sold tens of thousands of phones before declaring bankruptcy in 2008. It reorganised itself as an intellectual property firm licensing its patented optical technology for use in phones, tablets, readers and other touchscreen devices.

In a statement, the appeals court said it confirmed a ruling by the lower Federal Patent Court where Motorola Mobility, at the time a unit of Google but now owned by China's Lenovo, filed the original suit in a Munich court against the Apple user interface patent.

Apple won that case but the ruling was later overturned by the federal patent court.

There is no scope for Apple to appeal now, so its management will just have to wake up to the fact that Steve Jobs did not invent something radical here.

To put this existential crisis into perspective, telling Apple managers it did not invent "slide to unlock" it is a bit like an orthodox Jew discovering Moses ate bacon or a US Christian fundamentalist finding out that Jesus was gay. Some of them are still in counselling after they discovered that Jobs did not invent the mouse.

In the US, Jobs' Mob has had more success convincing courts that it invented everything since the wheel. The US courts even credit Apple and Jobs with inventing the rounded rectangle.

Last modified on 26 August 2015
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