Apple Granted Design Patents for “Slide to Unlock” and “Keyboard Letter Pop”
If you haven’t been living under a rock or something, you will probably know that it was Apple who first came up with this new innovative way of unlocking phone on a touch-screen with iPhone. The now “Slide to Unlock” screen that you probably see the most on your phone was one of the most “ooh aah” thing of 2007. Same goes for iPhone’s virtualkeyboard which had this “letter pop-out” effect which no other phone at that time had.
Since its establishment in 1975, Apple has been applying for, and won numerous patents. This is important because technology moves at a record-breaking pace and there is big need for any major company like Apple to protect its intellectual property rights from being copied, so that it can keep selling its products for the unique features it posses.
It was three years ago when Apple first applied for these patents. And today, Apple has been granted two patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office titled "Animated graphical user interface for a display screen or portion thereof ". These patent awards, if anything are normally considered technical victories in this fast-paced tech. world.
So what this means now is that if any company tries to copy the exact design, or significantly similar to the one described in the patents, they will have to either license the design from Apple, by obviously paying handsome fees, or face the legal action by Apple’s legal department. [D621849, D621848 via TUAW]