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Taiwan worried Apple slide-to-unlock patent may hurt market

updated 09:50 am EDT, Fri October 28, 2011

Taiwan concerned Apple patent may hurt competition

Taiwan Premier Wu Den-yih asked for an investigation Thursday over the possible harm caused by Apple's slide-to-unlock patent on the phone market. He told the local government's Industrial Technology Research Institute and Ministry of Economic Affairs that they should look into whether they need to help local phone designers, such as Acer and ASUS, change their software to avoid patent lawsuits. They would also help defend the companies if a complaint came through, Wu said.

As described, the patent is unlikely to trigger any disputes with Acer or ASUS. Apple's patent requires that the unlock motion follows a pre-defined gesture and shows a graphic specific to the iOS slide motion. Acer phones like the Liquid Metal use a page lift gesture that isn't strictly locked into a singular path.

ASUS has largely been absent in phones in recent memory, although even stock Android and Windows Phone interfaces vary sharply from Apple's patent.

If Apple does contest local firms, they may not have much defense. The patent was first filed in December 2005, at a time when Taiwan phone builders like Acer and ASUS were still using Windows Mobile and hadn't even considered optimizing their phones for finger touch instead of a pen. No significant challenge is known to have mounted against the US-based patent. [via Focus Taiwan]





By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. facebook_Pete

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Oct 2011

    +19

    Hmm...

    If they didn't go copying Apple's design they wouldn't need to worry about this.

  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    +6

    Not the government's idea...

    This undoubtedly was brought up by the manufacturers in that country. It's like they have "brain block" when it comes to thinking for themselves. I remember when, for instance, Japanese "tourists" came to the local Alcoa aluminum plant here and the company, in its "ego," allowed them to take all kinds of photographs! Why not, "They won't catch up with us!" Now everyone has to patent everything, which means hiring more lawyers, and.... you know how that works out.

  1. broohaha22

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2006

    -7

    time for patent reform.

    I don't like the direction this rabbit hole is taking us. We're in some serious need of patent reform.

  1. BlueGonzo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2010

    +6

    why worry

    Instead of complaining invent something new!

  1. c4rlob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2009

    +5

    Fair warning

    Apple and Steve Jobs gave everyone fair warning at the initial iPhone launch explicitly stating they patented everything. There are a hundred different ways to represent "unlocking/opening" something - people should have walked the talk and "innovated" their own gestures if they didn't want to owe Apple.
    You can argue that Apple duplicated a pre-existing real-life gesture for a latch - but no one was warning them not to.

  1. facebook_Jesse

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Oct 2011

    -1

    Other phone before iPhone

    You dumb-A's voting for Apple. There were other phones before Apple that had the slide to unlock feature. Apple copied them. Please don't force your "Reality Distortion" on us.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009

    -2

    Once again, stolen technology.


    The Neonode N1m featured, in a working prototype, a left to right slide to unlock sweep gesture 9 months before Apple filed for the slide unlock patent, 22 months before the unveiling of the iPhone.

    Prior art.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-KS2kfIr0

  1. Inkling

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Jul 2006

    +1

    Apple is a Jerk

    I've got a job that requires me to use Windows 7, and every time I do I curse Apple rather than Microsoft. Why? Because there are numerous design flaws carried over from 90s versions of Windows that were put in by lawyers to create a difference with the old Classic Mac UI, protecting Microsoft just a tiny bit more in Apple's failed lawsuit against them. Inertia has kept those bad ideas in Windows, making work for all of us a bit harder.

    And the reason is, as I note in the title, Apple is a jerk. It's the kid on the playground who won't share his toys, making life harder for everyone. And that's no accident. Read the new Jobs biography and you'll discover that its the life story of a jerk, a brilliant jerk, but a jerk none the less. Jobs stole from others without a bit of guilt, but howls to the heavens when someone borrows from him. As a teen, he rejected his parents' church, he claimed, because God wasn't doing anything about the starving kids of Biafra. And yet he was probably the wealthiest guy n the planet who didn't set up a way to direct some of his fortune toward charitable causes. Unlike Bill Gates, he never cared about those starving kids.

    I see the same thing happening with smartphone OSs. Apple steals ideas from others and then pretends it owns them, suing anyone who copies something as obvious as slide-to-unlock. Even the old nineteenth century Robber Barons didn't behave that badly.

    If the early auto industry had been run this selfishly and stupidly, GM cars would have had square steering wheels because Ford had a patent on round ones. Chrysler would have a clumsy brake button on the dash because GM had patented a foot brake and Ford the arm-lever brake.

    All this suing over UI elements is insane, utterly and completely insane.

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