Commonly used technology patent could trigger a war of lawsuits in the tech world
Apple has been granted a US Patent on a technology that allows unlocking a touchscreen device by touch and slide motion.
The patent 8,046,721, which is bound to set off wars among tablet and smartphone manufacturers reads: "A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device.
"The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path.
Most of the touch screen phones or tablet devices currently use some form of sliding to unlock the device. The language of the patent is very open as well.
The patent adds, "The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture."
The patent win by Apple means that other manufacturers who offer unlock a device using a gesture on a touch-sensitive display will risk infringing the patent.
Telling users about the swipe direction to unlock the device or providing visual cues for users about the unlocking mechanism are also protected.
Apple is already involved in several patent wars with mostly, manufacturers who use Google’s Android platform, with Samsung being a prominent target. The official biographer of Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs has gone on record saying that Jobs had vowed to destroy Android.