The Slide to Unlock gesture implemented on the original iPhone was very popular at that time and there were initial Windows Mobile, and later on, Android applications and even official implementations that applied the concept to the other platforms too.
Now Apple has been granted a patent by the United States Patent And Trademark Office for the Slide to Unlock gesture. The patent abstract describes: “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“.
What does this mean for other platforms? Nobody can use the sliding gesture to unlock a device, either by default or via a software application, without infringing on Apple’s patent (if its validity is maintained by the court).