Motorola monsters Apple's swipe-to-unlock patent in German court

Top civil court says Cupertino's fingering just isn't innovative or interesting

Apple has suffered yet another setback in its Bleak House lawsuits, with another German court deciding to throw out its swipe-to-unlock patent.

The ruling confirms an earlier decision that the patent just didn't have the goods to stand up in Europe.

As The Register reported at the time, “European law doesn't allow for the patenting of software that doesn't represent an innovation that is a 'technical solution to a technical problem'”.

The appeals process landed the case in Germany's Federal Court of Appeals, which has upheld the earlier decisions. Bloomberg reported that the appeals court said swipe-to-unlock “didn’t reach a level of sophistication needed to award patent protection”.

In the decision, the court ruled that “This user-friendly display was already suggested by the state of the art … The contested patent thus isn’t based on an invention.”

The case was brought by Motorola Mobility – which Google acquired but later flogged to Lenovo – and Samsung was for a while a party in the case, but withdrew.

There's no word on Apple's response to the decision. ®


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