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The function, familiar to all smartphone users, lacks the technical innovation to be granted a patent, the court rules.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office grants design patents for the contentious user interface asset.
The High Court in London has ruled HTC did not infringe four of Apple's patents, including a patent on slide-to-unlock.
The regional court in Mannheim said that it would wait for proceedings in the German Patent and Trademark Office to be completed before it hears the case.
A German court has dismissed cases both Apple and Samsung brought against each other. Better luck next time, chaps.
A German court has banned Motorola phones in a patent dispute with Apple over the slide-to-unlock feature.
The search giant's patent application provides for an unlocking method that also lets users perform at least one command, like placing a call or opening an application.
The iPhone maker could enforce a permanent ban ordered by a German court, but only if it's willing to put its money where its mouth is.
In October 2011, Apple won a patent detailing the method of sliding an onscreen mark to unlock the iOS operating system on a mobile device. Now, just four months later, Samsung's Galaxy Nexus is coming under fire for violating that patent.
Many of the patent applications and grants involving Apple relate to theoretical products that may never see the light of day. Today, Apple has been granted a patent that covers one of the most basic (and copied) processes in iOS, slide to unlock.