[JURIST] Germany’s highest appeal court on Tuesday affirmed [press release, in German] a 2013 decision by a lower court that invalidated a series of Apple [corporate website] smartphone patents. The ruling by the Federal Court of Justice [official website] invalidates the patents [US patent materials] regarding the “swipe to unlock” feature of the Apple iPhone. In the statement, the court stated that they invalidated the patents due to their similarities to a phone released by Swedish phone company Neonode, Inc. [corporate website] a year before the 2007 launch of the iPhone. The court noted that although Apple’s feature may have been easier to use, it was not enough to make the patent valid over the Neonode prior art. Motorola [official website] had originally filed the suit in 2008 as a unit of Google, but is now owned by Lenovo [corporate websites].
Apple has been involved in a great deal of patent disputes with large technology companies over the past decade. In May the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed [JURIST report] Apple’s smartphone patent victory against Samsung but remanded the case to the lower court to reduce the damages that must be paid to Apple. The court upheld the district court’s determination that Samsung infringed on some of Apple’s patented iPhone technology but also found that Samsung should have prevailed over Apple’s “trade dress” arguments. In August the US District Court for the Northern District of California denied [JURIST report] Apple’s request to ban Samsung from selling any of its products that infringed on Apple’s patented technology. Also in August Apple and Samsung agreed to drop [JURIST report] all patent infringement lawsuits in courts outside of the US.