The United States Patent & Trademark Office issued a patent grant to Apple pertaining to the familiar ‘Slide to Unlock’ gesture. With the patent, no one can now use the slide-to-unlock gesture without inviting a legal challenge from Apple.

The familiar gesture is now covered by patent number 8,046,721

“A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture.”

Jobs introduced the ‘Slide to Unlock’ gesture to the world for the first time at the iPhone unveiling in January of 2007 by quoting “To unlock the phone, I just take my finger and slide it across. Wanna see that again? We wanted something you couldn’t do by accident in your pocket. Just slide it across – BOOM.”

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