updated 05:49 pm EDT, Thu April 4, 2013
Ruling helps Samsung, Motorola cases
Germany's Federal Patent Court has ruled that all claims of Apple's slide-to-unlock patent are invalid as granted, according to FOSS Patents. The court has moreover ruled that none of the 14 amendments Apple has proposed can be used. The decision comes after a full-day hearing in front of five judges, led by Judge Vivian Sredl; two of the judges are said to have come from an engineering background.
Apple is already planning to appeal the decision to the Federal Court of Justice, and the company in fact moved to present a couple of amended claims at the end of the hearing, but only in relation to an appeal. All three companies with a stake in the ruling -- Apple, Samsung, and Motorola Mobility -- are said to have known since December that the Patent Court would probably invalidate the patent.
Apple has not had much luck with the patent, with previous rulings in Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands turning against the company's favor, although in February 2012 Apple did win a German injunction against two Motorola devices. Given today's ruling, it's expected that a Motorola appeal will be stayed.
Notably, the patent only covers some implementations of slide-to-unlock. A number of alternatives already in use are going unchallenged by Apple.