HTC takes a swipe at Apple in London High Court

By Sooraj Shah
05 Jul 2012 View Comments

The High Court in London has ruled that HTC has not infringed four technology patents, including the "slide-to-unlock" feature, that Apple claimed were its own.

The ruling said that the popular slide-to-unlock feature found on Apple's iPhones was an "obvious" development of the Swedish Neonode N1 mobile phone, which launched in July 2004.

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The Neonode N1, when locked, would require the user to "right sweep" to unlock the phone, and this was subsequently updated to be replaced with an arrow lockscreen.

In the ruling, the judge said "I consider that it would be obvious to the skilled team, faced with the lateral-swipe arrow unlock of Neonode, that it could be improved by the provision of feedback. The skilled team would be aware that visual feedback for a lateral gesture could be provided by the extremely familiar sliders from his common general knowledge, such as the Windows CE slider".

Also dismissed were a patent described as "portable radio communication apparatus using different (multilingual) alphabets" and software that determines which parts of a screen were activated by single and multiple touches.

The fourth was a photo management patent which was found not to be infringed.

The lawsuit comes in light of many recent disputes between technology vendors involving their patents. Most recently, Nokia has claimed patent infringement on Google's Nexus 7 tablet, while Apple and HTC's legal battle will continue in the US.

In a statement, the Taiwanese firm said: "HTC is pleased with the ruling, which provides further confirmation that Apple's claims against HTC are without merit. We remain disappointed that Apple continues to favour competition in the courtroom over competition in the marketplace."

Apple were unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

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