Germany is well and truly Apple’s stomping ground when it comes to anything related to lawsuits and today German courts have ruled in favour of Apple in a lawsuit against Motorola. Apple has been granted an injunction against Motorola for utilizing the “slide to unlock” style lockscreen which is patented by Apple in the EU and the USA. The same patent is also currently being used against Samsung in California which is briefly mentioned in this article.
Before going any further, no, this does not mean Motorola phones and tablets are going to be banned from sale in Germany overnight. Motorola intends to appeal the ruling which is bound to take months to complete.
Apple’s patent covers the concept of moving a tracked image from left to right in order to unlock a phone. Looking at more recent versions of Android such as Honeycomb 3.x and Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, Google has moved towards a circular lockscreen which the German court has specifically said do not infringe on Apple’s patents. This means that even if Motorola’s appeal is rejected it is unlikely to have a major impact on Motorola and the larger world of Android.
Kitguru says: I am no fan of Apple’s “slide to unlock” feature, nor their mob of lawyers for that matter. I’d prefer Android 4.0’s more feature-rich lockscreen any day of the week.