This morning The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) issued patent number 7657849 which grants Apple the rights to the familiar Slide to Unlock gesture.
The unlock gesture has become synonymous with iOS devices, and now, any company that uses a gesture that’s similar will have to pay royalties, or be charged with patent infringement.
iOS chief exec. Scott Forstall is credited as one of the inventors, in addition to Apple engineers Imran Chaudhri, Bas Ording, Freddy Allen Anzures, Marcel Van Os, Stephen O. Lemay and Greg Christie.
The official description in the filing states:
“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. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture.”
Interestingly, the patent application was filed in 2005, over a year before the original iPhone was introduced at the MacWorld Expo.