updated 09:50 am EDT, Fri October 28, 2011
Taiwan concerned Apple patent may hurt competition
Taiwan Premier Wu Den-yih asked for an investigation Thursday over the possible harm caused by Apple's slide-to-unlock patent on the phone market. He told the local government's Industrial Technology Research Institute and Ministry of Economic Affairs that they should look into whether they need to help local phone designers, such as Acer and ASUS, change their software to avoid patent lawsuits. They would also help defend the companies if a complaint came through, Wu said.
As described, the patent is unlikely to trigger any disputes with Acer or ASUS. Apple's patent requires that the unlock motion follows a pre-defined gesture and shows a graphic specific to the iOS slide motion. Acer phones like the Liquid Metal use a page lift gesture that isn't strictly locked into a singular path.
ASUS has largely been absent in phones in recent memory, although even stock Android and Windows Phone interfaces vary sharply from Apple's patent.
If Apple does contest local firms, they may not have much defense. The patent was first filed in December 2005, at a time when Taiwan phone builders like Acer and ASUS were still using Windows Mobile and hadn't even considered optimizing their phones for finger touch instead of a pen. No significant challenge is known to have mounted against the US-based patent. [via Focus Taiwan]