Apple's "Slide to Unlock" Patent Stirs Up a Hornet's Nest in Taiwan
Patently Apple was first to break the news about Apple's granted patent for their "Slide to Unlock" patent this past Tuesday. Considering that it was Apple's second patent win for this feature we didn't think that it would generate much interest. Contrary to our belief, it appears to have stirred up quite the hornet's nest in Taiwan. Yesterday the Premier of Taiwan, Speaking at a weekly Cabinet meeting, stated that he was very concerned about the possible adverse effects of Apple's latest patent victory on Taiwanese companies, particularly those in the smartphone and tablet sectors. I'm glad that they're looking into it and maybe they'll finally realize that copying IP shouldn't be a national practice.
If you Don't Get it Yet: Apple's at War!
There's a movement against all things related to Apple patents and Intellectual Property of late. They're a loud bunch that came out of nowhere once Apple began winning on several legal fronts against Samsung and other Android supporters. Is it any surprise? No - it's par for the course, except for the fact that some of the naysayers came from within the Mac community oddly. But naysayers have been wrong about Apple producing the iPod, the iPhone and Apple's iPad. They whined for years that Apple's patents wouldn't lead to actual products - and that patents never forecasted products. Well, in case you didn't know, the definition of stupid is when someone keeps repeating the same message over and over again hoping for a different outcome. But then again they're stupid, so they'll never get that. Humorous but sad.
Beyond the anti-patent movement, it was reported earlier this month in a revealing report by DigiTimes that "since January 2011, three events have occurred in China which has led some upstream component suppliers to believe there is a conspiracy by the China government to try to suppress Apple's supply chain. The moves are said to be counter attacks which are part of China's trade war with the US."
In 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone he made it crystal clear that the then 2007 iPhone already had over 200 patents protecting it and that Apple would defend their product, as later stated by Tim Cook; The same 200 patents that the naysayers didn't believe were real.
Apple has since been fighting Samsung on several legal fronts while being counter sued. And unless you live under a rock, you know that Steve Jobs was and Apple still is ready to stay the course and go to war against Android. Yes, it's war, if you didn't already guess that. And Patently Apple isn't going to back down, retreat or hide like so many in the community are willing to do. Its war and we're glad to take a stand on Apple's Intellectual Property. It's also a matter of principle. Intellectual Property matters whether the anti-patent movement gets that or not. This is North America where protecting IP still matters. If the rules are different in Europe, then make the argument to Europeans.
So, am I glad to hear that the government of Taiwan is concerned about Apple's patent? – Hell yes! I'm glad that Steve Jobs had the guts to take a stand on their IP. Apple lost the original PC war due to Apple legal falling asleep and allowing Microsoft to basically copy the Mac legally. Steve Jobs was mad as hell over what Google pulled off with Android, being that the former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, was on their board - and vowed to go to war. So if the competition is shaking in their boots right now over Apple's IP in Taiwan – then Great!
Here's a review of Tuesday's report on Apple's so called controversial patent:
Apple is Granted a Second iOS "Slide to Unlock" Patent
Apple has received their second Granted Patent for the iOS "Slide to Unlock" opening screen feature as noted below. If a user doesn't use a security code for their iOS device, then this is the screen graphic that they'll be greeted with. The user simply slides the arrow to the extreme right side to unlock the screen and be presented with their home screen. Those choosing to lock their screen with a security code will be greeted with an alternative screen graphic that displays a numeric pad to enter a security password, which isn't covered in this patent.
Apple's First Claim: A method of unlocking a hand-held electronic device, the device including a touch-sensitive display, the method comprising: detecting a contact with the touch-sensitive display at a first predefined location corresponding to an unlock image; continuously moving the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display in accordance with movement of the contact while continuous contact with the touch screen is maintained, wherein the unlock image is a graphical, interactive user-interface object with which a user interacts in order to unlock the device; and unlocking the hand-held electronic device if the moving the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display results in movement of the unlock image from the first predefined location to a predefined unlock region on the touch-sensitive display.
To review Apple's other 14 patent claims and invention detailing, see granted patent 8,046,721. Apple credits Senior VP of iPhone Software Scott Forstall along with team members Imran Chaudhri, Bas Ording, Freddy Anzures, Marcel Van Os, Stephan Lemay and Greg Christie as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q2 2009. Apple's first granted patent on this front came in February of this year.
Not to mention the argument coming from a region that prides itself historically on copying western products [pretty much everything!] and then making them cheaper for locals, or a local market at increased margins.
Not to mention having designs and prototypes leaked/missing from locally contracted manufacturers to suddenly pop up in the market prior to release of a new product... even a product that was never to be released.
It might be more of a case that the deal was done between Apple and Taiwan and China to distribute legitimate Apple products in those countries, in exchange for registration and enforcement of the associated patent claims and copyrights... Now only to find that they want to find ways circumvent those agreement and deals which were struck... by finding ways around the patents. It didn't take long did it?
Posted by: Rob | November 01, 2011 at 04:47 PM
The story is about your premier looking into Apple's patent. Not Google. Your Premier isn't going to investigate Apple's patent to protect it, but protect the Android makers. That's your Premier's decision, that puts a bad spotlight on the country doing the investigating. Period.
Posted by: Jack Purcher | November 01, 2011 at 03:55 AM
As I said,Taiwan is just ODM's that is helping andriod as well as helping iphone to manufacture phone, they get paid, and they manufacture. None of it is involved in against intellectual property as you said about it. I'm not being Nationalistic but this is the fact, and another fact is that you have written a sentence that is accusing copying as a national while you didn't investigate that Taiwan have put much effort at intellectual rights over the decade.if you want to blame who is copying, blame the American company Google.
Posted by: Taiwanese | October 31, 2011 at 10:38 PM
When your Premier basically states that they're going to investigate Apple's patent, it's definitely not to help Apple protect it. Don't be a hypocrite. It's about wanting to protect companies making Android devices in Taiwan. So who is kidding who here? Understand the context. And if you're still angry about it, then perhaps it's you being overly defensive and Nationalistic.
Posted by: Jack Purcher | October 30, 2011 at 10:14 AM
You state that: "I'm glad that they're looking into it and maybe they'll finally realize that copying IP shouldn't be a national practice"
The Taiwanese premier is concerned because Taiwanese enterprises are just ODM of a lot of devices that run Andriod.
It is NOT Taiwanese copying anything of Apple.
Posted by: Taiwanese | October 30, 2011 at 10:03 AM
Phones would not be pocket compututers, and would still be cheap plastic... Though a lot of competitors phones still are....
If it were not for Steve Jobs vision with the iPhone.
Posted by: Rob | October 29, 2011 at 07:57 AM
Where in this article did they "lump" mainland China, Taiwan and South Korea into one camp?
You should have stopped at "I support protecting IP." All I hear is peoople whining about Apple's patents. Google went out to buy billions of dollars worth of IP and they're the largest whiners.
Stop your whining, Apple gets sued all the time. So give me a break as if it's a one way street here.
Posted by: John | October 28, 2011 at 04:12 PM
Agreed. If the patents are stupid, or the patent law is stupid, then invalidate the patents or change the law.
BUT, if the concept of IP is stupid, then Google should open source the proprietary search IP its entire business is based on.
Just looking at those pics of 2007 "smart-phones" reminds us all how far away from this kind of creativity all the other OEMs were four years ago.
Posted by: Synth | October 28, 2011 at 11:59 AM
Actually you misquoted Einstein. "insanity" is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
Posted by: Jacob | October 28, 2011 at 09:49 AM
Google and the hardware copy cats haven't a leg to stand on, IMHO.
Posted by: Burt | October 28, 2011 at 09:25 AM
While I support protecting intellectual property I must ask you to get the hell off of your high horse and stop pretending as if only the righteous almighty Americans are the only ones who care about IP and rest of the God-less evil world doesn't.
Also please DO NOT lump mainland China, Taiwan and South Korea (Samsung) all into one. They are as different as Russia, England and Spain.
Besides, as mentioned in your very own article, Google and Microsoft are two of the major copycats of Apple and they are both AMERICAN companies.
Posted by: Tamade Gannima | October 28, 2011 at 09:04 AM