USPTO fails again: Google patents gesture unlock/app launch feature

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Here’s a pretty easy question for the audience: when was the first time you saw a lockscreen app, or OEM customization that offered unlock-to-app launching? If you said that it was before March of 2012, then you might want to try helping out the USPTO in investigating patent filings, because Google was just awarded that patent.

We routinely point out when the USPTO fails with patents that Apple has filed (because it seems like Apple files far more than other companies, or at least it makes the news more), and so we have to do the same when the USPTO fails on a Google patent as well. The patent filing shows a system where you’d use the Android grid gesture unlock, but be able to launch directly into an app through that system. The strange thing is that the patent filing shows the system on what looks like a Nexus One, but the filing wasn’t submitted until March of 2012, which makes it seem like Google just had this one sitting around for a while.

Of course, that sort of system has been widely available through various lockscreen replacement apps for a while, so it doesn’t make much sense as to why the USPTO would award this patent. Still, maybe it’ll be a new feature that we see with Android 5.0?

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