A German court on Thursday ruled in Apple’s favor over a slide-to-unlock patent dispute with Motorola. Judge Dr. Peter Guntz of the Munich Regional Court granted the Cupertino-based company a permanent injunction against Motorola’s implementation, which Apple can enforce at its own risk. The ruling is significant not only because it could prohibit Motorola from selling devices that use slide-to-unlock, but also because it could potentially affect patent disputes involving Android device makers worldwide.
The court evaluated three different slide-to-unlock gestures, finding that two violated Apple’s patents. The third, used by the Motorola Xoom, was deemed clear by the judge.
Motorola said it plans to appeal the decision, but also added the ruling won’t have an impact on future supply or sales. “Today’s ruling in the patent litigation brought by Apple in Munich, Germany, concerns a software feature related to unlocking in select Motorola devices sold in Germany,” the company said in a statement. “Motorola has implemented a new design for the future. Therefore, we expect no impact on current supply or future sales.”
Florian Müller, a German patent expert who runs FOSS Patents, has a different viewpoint. Müller said Apple’s win against Android is a significant one. “Apple is asserting the same patent as well as a related utility model against Samsung in Mannheim, and can always bring claims against more Android device makers in this jurisdiction,” Müller explained. “Today’s ruling is significant bad news for Android at large, and Google.”
If Motorola appeals, the company will have to prove its new design is significantly different from Apple’s current slide-to-unlock.