Apple has been granted a patent for its smartphones’ slide-to-unlock feature, opening up potential lawsuits with almost every Android and Windows phone-maker.
Granted by the United States Patent & Trademark Office, the award adds to Apple’s already chockfull filing cabinet of patents and comes at a time when it is already locked in internecine legal wrangles with Android phone-maker Samsung over alleged infringements.
Along with sliding mechanisms, the patent, which Apple applied for back in 2009, also includes similarly popular pattern unlock systems.
Given that this covers pretty much every smartphone from its major rivals, the award could prove a vital weapon in the Samsung legal spat and will fire a timely warning shot to Microsoft.
The patent states: "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."
News of developments comes as a just-released biography revealed the depths of the animosity Apple founder Steve Jobs bore towards Android, vowing to “destroy” the platform for copying features he claimed were pioneered by the iPhone.