According to Bloomberg, judge Christopher Floyd ruled that HTC had not infringed four technologies that Apple had claimed sprang from the genius of Steve Jobs fully formed.
He said Apple’s slide-to-unlock feature was an “obvious” development in the light of a similar function on an earlier Swedish handset.
HTC launched the London-based lawsuits a year ago as part of an effort to invalidate European patents Apple had referred to in a German court case. Apple subsequently countersued.
The judge ruled that the first three patents were invalid in this case, while the fourth did not apply to HTC’s devices.
The judge said that HTC’s “arc unlock” feature, which also involves a predefined gesture along a path shown on-screen, would have infringed Apple’s technology had it not been for a device released in 2004. This indicates that it was not the genius of Steve Jobs which came up with it after all.
The Neonode N1 showed a padlock on its screen with the words “right sweep to unlock” when it was in its protected mode. A later version replaced the text with an arrow.
The judge said it would have been an “obvious” improvement for the developers to have offered users visual feedback in the form of a “slider” in the way that Apple later used.
The judge said that the “slider” was nicked from Microsoft’s CE system.