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London High Court Favors HTC Over Apple In Swipe-to-Unlock Patent Dispute

A High Court in London ruled out Wednesday, July 4th, that Taiwanese phone maker HTC did not infringe four technologies that Apple claimed as its own. Among those patents is the popular Swipe To Unlock functionality which has become notoriously popular in both iOS and Android devices.

While this development is a little thing for Apple, which has been facing battles against other phone manufacturers aside from HTC, it surely is a big thing for the Taiwan-based company. Prior to this favorable rule out in London, HTC won the hearts of the  people from the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) allowing the  company to continue selling its Android smartphones including One X and EVO 4G LTE on the US soil.

This legal battle between these two companies heightened last year when HTC filed lawsuits in London-based court in a bid to invalidate the European patent claim filed by the Cupertino-based tech giant in a German court. However, Apple countersued and the patents included in the lawsuit were the following;

  • Unlocking an electronics device by doing a gesture on an image. More often, this is being referred to as “Slide to Unlock” or “Swipe to Unlock.”
  • Keyboard with multiple languages. This brings different alphabets to mobile devices.
  • Photo management system. This includes resizing of images by single- or multi-touch.
  • Bounce back into place. This functionality still belongs to the photo management patent and it is a popular feature for both Android and iOS.

The judge ruled out in favor of HTC saying that the three patents claimed by Apple were invalid for the case while the fourth was not applicable for HTC devices.

This decision actually gave lawyers who are fighting for other manufacturers that are also engaged in a legal battle against Apple an idea where to strike in their favor. The slide-to-unlock functionality is included in almost all patent claims filed by Apple.

“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,” according to the official statement issued by HTC.

[source: BBC | Big Pond News]

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