Apple has won a patent dispute against Motorola Mobility regarding a “slide-to-unlock” feature on smartphones. The judgement marks Apple’s first patent victory over Motorola in any part of the world. Patent consultant Florian Mueller said the ruling could affect patent disputes involving Android device makers worldwide. Apple was granted the sliding patent in March 2010 (EP1964022) and it relates to the process of unlocking a smartphone by simply swiping a finger from one area of the screen to another. A second patent ruling, which covers a method of scrolling through pictures in a photo gallery on mobile device, was also due on Thursday but was postponed by the court. It will be interesting to see how Google, who is acquiring Motorola Mobility will handle this situation.
A spokeswoman for the Motorola said: “Today’s ruling in the patent litigation brought by Apple in Munich, Germany, concerns a software feature related to phone unlocking in select Motorola devices sold in Germany. “Motorola has implemented a new design for the feature. Therefore, we expect no impact on current supply or future sales.”