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Apple Files for Face Unlock Patent, Are You Kidding Me? (Updated)

According to Apple patent investigator Patently Apple, the Cupertino based king of patent trolling has filed for a new facial unlock detection patent. Seriously, Apple? You don’t even have facial recognition technology out to the public yet, but your competitor does and you file for a patent on it? I mean, come on. We get that you hate Android with a passion, however, this just looks pathetic.

If you glance over the fancy little stick-figured depiction of this new technology, you will see that it matches up almost perfectly to what the same feature does in Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Let’s see, it says that the device will look for eyes and a mouth in normal locations, analyze weight differences, and then unlock if it matches up to the one on file. Yeah, that’s exactly how Android’s face unlock works.  

Update:  According to Engadget, Apple actually filed for this patent back in June before Android had unveiled their Face Unlock and is just now being disclosed to the public. It should also be noted that Google purchased a facial recognition software company around that same time. Tough to tell if that company has any patents for their software or not. Ahh the patent wars – can they be anymore obnoxious?  (Cheers Dave!)

Update 2:  A reader who says that he is a patent attorney has weighed in through the comments. Both of his remarks are worth a read, one of which we have pasted below. You can find them here and here.

I am a patent attorney specializing in computer hardware/software,  telecom, mobile computing, etc., as well as a DL fan and reader. i see a lot of confusion about a number of items here so i want to clarify a few points that are clearly being misunderstood:

1. the shift from ‘first to invent’ to ‘first to file’ has nothing to do with prior art. no patent will ever be valid if there is publicly available prior art that has made the invention known to the public before the patent filing.  The only difference arises in a case where A invented something before B, but B was quicker to file his patent application.  Under the ‘first to invent’ doctrine, if A can prove that he invented first, he will receive the patent even if he filed his patent application later.  first to file changes this, whereby it doesn’t matter when you came up with the idea – only when you filed the patent application.

2.  no one (including apple) can simply get a patent on an ‘idea’ without (a lot) more. i can’t just patent the idea of ‘unlocking a phone with face recognition.’ in order for a patent to be valid, it must ‘enable’ the invention. in a nutshell, that means that there must be enough detail for someone else in the same field to be able to read the patent and understand exactly what the invention is, how it works, and how to make it.  abstract concepts are not enough – there must be concrete examples,steps,etc., which spell it out (here, likely a series of algorithms).


Via:  BGR, Patently Apple

  • Timothy Do

    Android already has this, how can Apple patent it when it already exist? At this rate, Apple will patent eventually patent the numbers on your keypad of the phone so that they force everyone else to use roman numerals to dial. This is getting ridiculous.

  • Go read the application.

    United States Patent Application: 0110317872

  • And web sites that strip out paragraphing lead the list of forces leading to the deconstruction of civilization.  Makes everything just a run-on jumble of tiny ideas with no structure or relationship.

  • Seem to be a lot of misconceptions here.  Read the attorney’s brief tutorial lesson.

    One patents a thing when it has been developed.  Has nothing to do with manufacture, use, release or any of that.  There is no requirement to even ever use it.  It’s not about staking out territory by being first to market.Patent protection actually has nothing to do with products at all, or the right to sell certain kinds of products.  It has to do with the patented device.  Only.

    There is a culture wide dumbing down of everything and the deconstruction of all of civilization going on, epitomized by the flame wars.  Nobody bothers to understand structure or formal concepts; it’s all just about pop culture and whose “side” we are on.  The reader will note that this is basically just primitive tribalism with only instinctive actions.There are tons of things wrong with the patent system.  But letting Apple patent a method it invented that does the same thing as something someone else also does is not one of them.Personally, I think it began when government abrogated its responsibility to examine patents.  Also, Congress needs to limit patents to a concrete method or process, not a visualization of a result.  Apple will not be able to patent the idea of doing face recognition (and here is where the system has pretty much completely jumped the rails — but blame the idiot mostly Democrat congress, not Apple).  A patent was supposed to apply to one particular way of doing something, and that way should need to be distinctive.  The rules about prior art and obvious engineering have been pretty well gutted so now it’s more of a gold rush to stake out claims than any real contribution of solutions, which is what patents were supposed to encourage and protect.But once you can patent the idea of using a click on a web site to buy something, we are in deep, deep trouble.  That is one owned by Amazon which Apple licenses for iTunes and other uses.If there is only one way of doing something, obviously that is the obvious way, so it should hardly qualify for a patent.Research labs have been doing face recognition for security purposes long, long before either Apple or Google started messing with it.Apple sells many products which include others’ patented technology.

  • Pegwinieoncp

    crapple is just a f***ing company that gets all of its profits and products off suing other companies about things the other company already did, and that crapple was going to do, but was too dam lazy to get off their f***ing butts and make it. But they weren’t too lazy to sue people. Did you know I hate apple? FYI.

  • Guest

    APPLE <3

  • Bayberry29

    My dell all in one desktop has this feature for years now. I bought it in 2007 July to be exact. Apple is a bunch of assholes. I’m sick of their petty garbage. They don’t have too much longer anyways. RIP to Steve but without his guide and leadership they’re done anyways.

    • They are not applying to patent a feature.

      Your Dell can keep its feature, implemented its way.  Dell cannot use the same group of tricks to do it better that Apple has detailed in the application, if the patent is granted.

  • Mirko Fumagalli

    Today other STUPID charapter about this war…. we talk also in italy


  • Anonymous

    my friend’s mother makes $80/hour on the internet. She has been fired from work for 10 months but last month her 
    check was $7998 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site…  LazyCash1

  • Quinny898

    What’s the bet that their next “idea then patent” will be previews with multitasking?

  • I really don’t see how Apple can patent this honestly. It’s like the slide to unlock thing. Regardless, all the lawsuits, patents, etc. prove that Apple truly is afraid of Google when it comes to the wireless industry. You know, perhaps if they changed their business model so that it’s not so damn proprietary, they might not have to worry as much. If they opened themselves up a bit, they would gain back quite a bit of that market share they lost to Android I bet. While it can’t do as much, iOS is VERY easy and user friendly. Why not open it up to other manufacturers like Google has done? Oh wait….Then they wouldn’t have complete and utter control over the consumer. Nevermind….

    • Apple didn’t start it.  Amazon patented using one click to buy something, and it’s all been downhill from there.

  • my best friend’s step-aunt makes $68 every hour on the
    laptop. She has been fired for 9 months but last month her paycheck was $8807
    just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site…  LazyCash1

  • This is ridiculous, even more so taking into account there are even third-party apps that feature face recognition in the android market (search for “FaceLock for apps” in the Android market, for example)

  • Daniel Archibald33

    Pretty soon apple will try to file a patent that they were the first to create the “Smartphone” too

  • Rizzidy

    DL continues to look stupid when talking about patents.

  • Did anyone here actually read the patent?  Or are you just sheeping it up?

    • I read it.  There is quite a bit to the details, and I’m not an expert in the state of the art in face recognition.  However, I did recognize some of the steps as being pretty standard.  All in all, it struck me as the straightforward way someone would engineer that process.  But maybe there are some innovative details, possibly in the part about quickly doing the match.

      What concerns me is there seems to be a claim not to patent presence detection, and not to patent face recognition, but to patent connecting detection with proceeding to attempt recognition.  Now that’s downright obvious to me, and hardly a “process” or “device”.

      But if Amazon can defend the idea of patenting not clicking, and not buying, but of letting a click buy something, then Apple will probably prevail.

  • Anonymous

    Had to repost this….dunno where my cousin found it.

    cumulative reasons to get a mac:

    -you have no hardware knowledge.

    -you have no software knowledge.

    -you have no friends who know anything about hardware/software.

    -the most complex thing you have ever done is install a program and change the background image.

    -you are unable to make basic choices regarding hardware and looks and are happy to only be offered a single alternative.

    -you like shiny things.

    -you have a lot of money to spare.

    joking 😉

    but seriously.

  • boo Jay

    I take a dump daily.  I’m going to sue Apple for copying me.

  • Leo B.

    I am not sure if i understand this correctly but there is another firm called Tessera Technologies which filed a face recognition patent on September 8, 2008 it is #8,005,265.

  • James M

    That’s funny because apple patented the “idea” of being able to link text message data to apps back in ’95 before ever having a working prototype. Which is how HTC lost it’s last patient battle.

  • God. Sick of Apple. Can’t stand selling the iPhail 4.5 anymore. -.-”

  • This is no different than facial recognition login (and screensaver unlock) which has existed on computers for quite some time. See http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2010/09/login-to-ubuntu-using-your-face/

  • Skittleoid

    Go suck one Apple!

  • Funny thing is that if Apple gets this patent and if say some other entity uses it or is currently using it like say the government. Apple would have a hard time enforcing it without going after all parties.

    • lol all the patent does is “prevent” others from marketing it and give the government a cornucopia of a database for ideas.

  • Anonymous

    Next thing you know, Apple will patent apples and everybody who makes apple <> will get sued.


  • David Hollingshead

    Is Apple mean for filing a patent for face unlock or is Google stupid for not doing it?

    • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    I don’t see the fuzz here. It is strictly business; and in the case of a
    giant, it is merely playing one of the core strings of capitalism which
    is self-preservation. If you are part of the supply and demand cycle, guess what, you created this problem. Now the patent process is also a whole other animal on itself, and I’ll let the experts speak to that.

  • i think the real problem is how patents effect open source

  • Chris

    Read this: guess Ice Cream Sandwich wasn’t the first.

    The proposed invention, made public this week, was first filed by Apple in June of 2009. It is credited to Robert Mikio Free.

    Apple was rumored in September of 2010
    to have acquired a Swedish facial recognition company, Polar Rose, for
    $29 million. One of the company’s products, Recognizr, could take a
    photo of a user and recognize that same person when shown on video.

    Reports have indicated that Apple has long shown interest in having its
    devices identify users with facial recognition technology and customize a
    device based on their personal preferences. In early 2010, before the
    iPad was announced, The Wall Street Journal revealed that an
    early prototype of Apple’s touchscreen tablet would use a forward-facing
    camera to recognize users’ faces, allowing it to be one device easily shared by the entire family.

    Apple reportedly experimented with the ability to customize the device,
    and have it automatically switch to a user’s personal settings once they
    picked it up. One early feature included virtual “sticky notes” that
    one user could leave for another, and would be read the next time they
    picked up the iPad.

    • Anonymous

      Dude dont waste your time…..people around here aren’t interested in FACTS….

      • Hugo Pinto

        If by FACTS you mean that facial recognition has been around for a LOOOOONG time?

  • Kniven3

    Im so sick of Apples’s cap! I also thought some of this BS would stop when Jobs died but guess not .

  • Adam Brandt

    we are in an age of  touchscreens where every screen is gonna basically be either 16:9, or 4:3 which takes care of the length and height.  And the trend for all technology of this type is thinner, lighter, and smaller bezel.  So they are ALL essentially a touchscreen.  How much different can they all be?  This is a new age of electronics and the patent office needs to catch the hell up, because this just WON’T WORK, it’s as simple as that.  The current way they are giving patents out is ignorant and uneducated, and we will need a patent to breathe the air within 3 cubic feet of an iOS device at this rate.  Anyway, something has to give.  I am reminded a little of when Napster came out and the music industry had NO IDEA what to do with this new technology.  I know it’s not the same scenario at all, but once again we are dealing with a VERY OLD and archaic office (Patent) trying to catch up with new technology it doesn’t understand and has NO IDEA what the hell it’s giving out patents for and Apple knows it and is TOTALLY trying (and so far succeeding) at taking advantage of their ignorance.  My only question is, GOOGLE WHY ARE YOU NOT PATENTING EVERYTHING YOU EVEN THINK YOU HAVE CHANCE IN HELL OF GETTING A PATENT FOR?!?  I think this whole mess will end up in court eventually, and a new division in the patent system will have to be implemented by people who understand all of this (like any reasonably intelligent 18 year old).  But some of these patents by Apple are SO BASIC and just childlike, and it’s now OBVIOUS they are not going to stop, so Google, WHY are YOU not patenting everything from your original speech to text, and OMG, the BLATENT NOTIFICATION RIPOFF APPLE PULLED ON YOU, to any cute graphic of Andy, to well, ANYTHING you think you may have a shot in hell of getting a patent at?  Apple is OBVIOUSLY going to play as DIRTY as it takes, and it’s time for you to protect your ASSets.

  • Anonymous

    Update:  According to Engadget, Apple actually filed for this patent back in June before Android had unveiled their Face Unlock and is just not being disclosed to the public. ”

    June 2010, that is.  It only publishes18 months from application date.

  • Tom Harding

    And this is why I got rid of my iPhone this year and went to Android. I hate Apple with a passion. Not only do I dislike their locked down, awkward software (iTunes has to be the most demonic piece of software ever invented), but I also despise how they operate like a bunch of arrogant tools like they own the world.

    Unfortunately, as long as Apple gadgets are simple to use, the simpletons will lap it all up and keep them at the top of the market. 
    My life is so much easier with Android.

    • Well said.  Wish I could like that comment more than just once.

    • because when they copy someones elses stuff it changes everything. blah

  • Anonymous

    apple is….there are no words to describe it…. when is this apple going to go bad so android can be -un-bothered 

  • Irie

    I’ve had this on my dell laptop for the past three years and I don’t think it was new when I bought it!  LOL  Apple blows! 

  • Anonymous

    I thought about buying a iPad and i have a transformer (most for better apps).. now, id rather go with a Quad Asus Transformer Prime or something else. No reason why anyone should support such a messed up company. They patent the obvious.. slide to unlock. On a touch screen device?

    • Anonymous

      Wait for the iPad 3 and obviously the dumb people from this site is going to tell u just get an Android tablet!

      • Im waiting for the nezus tablet

  • Anonymous

    I love pussy and money

  • Crazyhand

    I love Apple!:)

  • Anonymous

    Oh wow, after all these comments I think I may have clicked on the kiddie section of the site. Anybody know where the adult section is? You know. Where people actually converse without using personal attacks and acting like zit ridden high school kids. Oh, I digress. In this day and age you can’t have one without the other. 

  • Amador2324

    Heyy y’all I’m just a trolling apple fanboy and just to mention That apple submitted it in June 29,2010! So if I were a fandroids I wouldnt say anything ;D
    -Apple rules and Android just copies off Apple 😀

    • GNEX=SEX

      This is a joke right? Hahaha I needed a good laugh today 🙂

  • Granted

    Well Kleenex, you’ve finally hammered in the last nail on the coffin of becoming a complete and utter sellout advertising whore, by having a “Sponsored” post for T-Mobile. Of course you locked the comments because you indeed know how pathetic that is. I’m sure some moron will say “Hey we all have to pay the bills…”, well there is paying the bills and having integrity, and then there is being a complete whore and having an advertisement as a post. That is just pathetic greed and completely forgetting where you came from and having the conviction and integrity of a used car salesman. In all my many years of being on the internet I’ve never seen an ad as post, ads on the page sure, but damn that is so pathetic.

    It’s just a shame I seem to be the only one who doesn’t appreciate being pandered to. I choose to view it in the vain hope it would return what made it great, but alas it keeps deteriorating like a meth-addicted low-rent prostitute, day by day. But the closed comments for that post should speak quite enough for what I’m saying, I mean you surely don’t want to piss of a paying sponsor while you inundate to the people that give you reason to have a sponsor…..damn that is just an unmatched way of urinating all over your readers. But I guess if your constantly ramming your nose into his fecal dungeon, well you are too blinded by crap to even notice. But it’s beyond a slippery slope and eventually this site will look like Myspace. It won’t be long now before you have to click and view an ad to read the second part to a post. I’m sure my truth will be deleted, but at least I don’t have to live with having the integrity of a Congress member.

    • Anonymous

      No one else likes it, but at least they have the decency to include [Sponsored] in the title. And obviously comments are blocked, if the sponsor reads your nasty comments they might pull out – ain’t rocket science.

      Chill out bro.

  • Anonymous

    apple, please burn, thanks

  • Guest

    Apple actually does have SOME sort of facial recognition technology that they use in iPhoto. The tech is able to learn specific faces as well.

    • Most photo software has face recognition…not justbapple but my gnex has it facebook has it google plus has it…i think its two different things tho

  • the signs of a once innovative company becoming not so innovative, what a shame. 

  • Kim

    Interesting  read
    describes a small part of the technology that FastAccess has used since we
    innovated this type of face recognition in 2006. At CES in a couple
    weeks, we will demonstrate FastAccess Anywhere – for mobile. Using patent
    pending technology, we have optimized it to recognize faces in real-world
    mobile conditions.  Our tech is highly resistant to photo and video of an
    enrolled person’s face.  

  • Well, at least Android got it out first to Apple has to catch up to it. But if Apple wins I will crush my second gen iPod touch. 

    • Mike Johnson

      I got a Samsung Galaxy music device after my iPod was stolen. I like it much better and its Android. 

  • Drod2169

    If they filed for it in June, Android still announced facial recognition software with ICS in May at I/O.

  • Anonymous

    to all those wondering ‘why doesn’t google patent stuff too?’:

    please take my (very well informed in this respect 😉 ) word that google is doing just that

  • As some one who works in security I can say that facial recognition has been around a while and really isn’t our preferred method most systems can be fooled by a picture, which is why they are generally paired with some sort of biometric scanner aka (hand reader, finger scanner, or retina).  So it is possible that they have some improvement or adaption that they want to patent.  I do find it hard to believe they could possibly have something more innovative than the systems used in government buildings and secure businesses.

  • Adam F.

    So, let’s turn around and file a patent for voice recognition software that filters through a server first.

  • R Greeney

    Hello..Toshiba had that years ago…..

  • Eric Richardson

    From June 2009. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nRLFXkPrKs

  • Applying does not translate into granting a patent. Google wasn’t born yesterday. So, unless you’re working for both camps, we’ll have to wait and see.

  • edwards311

    Apple is an absolute piece of sh*t…..this is just ridiculous.
    Hey Apple……F*CK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Android FTW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    wow i know you guys are not shocked by this

  • More and more this is loooking like a tempest in a teacup. Even a just a few minutes of very casual Google searches show that there’s plenty of prior art and already well-established patents out there that would be impossible to ignore and which narrow the potential scope of this patent filing tremendously. Anybody who is still worried that Apple is going to try to use this filing to get one over on Android is likely either paranoid or lazy.

  • patentlyinformed

    This post is embarrassing.  Learn about “filing dates” and “prior art” before sounding off like a complete uninformed fanboy.  PS this is coming from someone who owned nothing but android phones since the 2nd iphone.

  • Anonymous

    This actually would be a perfect test to prove to the world exactly how broken the US patent system is.  If the patent is granted, there should be an immediate investigation and overhaul of the patent system.  

  • Anonymous

    This was filed BEFORE ICS. 

    Therefore, Android stole from iOS, yet again.

    iKid, iKid!

  • Mjsplicer78

    UPDATE-Apple applies for the right to be a douchebag patent. It was instantly granted based on merit


    wow, another b.s apple move. they should just shove an android up their ass… tried siri today in the store…too many voices…couldn’t get it. pulled out my thunderbolt…soon to be gnex and it google voice worked fine..

    • QtDL

      My Apple fanboy boss tried to demonstrate Siri to me on his new 4S…..def took 5 tries or so to get a correct answer for something.

  • Good grief!

  • Kellen you might want to update this. According to Engadget, Apple filed for this back on June 29th, 2010 and only now is it coming forward. However in Google’s defense according to some commenters over there, Google bought out a facial recognition company back in July called PittPatt. Unfortunately Engadget won’t recognize this. This could get interesting.

    Sources below:

    Engadget Article


    TechCrunch Article and PittPatt Website (Links Commenters from Engadget are using)



    • QtDL

      Your post made me think of this….completely irrelevant and obscure. Wonder how many of you know where it’s from….

  • Anonymous

    I’m assuming they are trying to patent the technology that they plan to use for their own version of Face Unlock. Google should have tried to patent the entire idea like Apple did with Slide to Unlock, but they seem to be more interested in innovating then trying to slow their competition like Apple is.

  • Google please start documenting NOW! crapple is winning this battle. 

  • Manuel Olague

    F*CK APPLE!!! Google needs to get to patenting there stuff before apple can. Patent notifications, folders, pattern and face unlock. Anything! Don’t let apple take over!

    • Anonymous

      This patent was filed over a year ago. They aren’t stealing from android.

  • Ian Santopietro

    Give ’em the patent. When they sue, there’s so much prior work on this it’ll make the lawyers’ minds spin.

  • Anonymous

    So, biased news site is biased. This was filed over a YEAR ago. This site is misleading people.

  • Anonymous

    A few other points that some might not appreciate (from a DL reader/patent attorney:

    1. this is only a patent APPLICATION. it is not a granted patent and may never become one. apple has little to no right to do anything to anyone on the basis of this application.

    2. legally, the description of the invention (referred to as the ‘specification’) and the drawings are secondary to the patent CLAIMS. the claims are the most important (legally enforceable) part of the patent. apple can say whatever they want in the specification, but can only sue someone for infringement of one of their patent’s CLAIMS.  (again, when the patent grants, if ever).

    3. given lots of prior art (i.e., previous instances of face recognition unlocking), apple is only likely to get the patent granted (if at all) based on certain incremental improvements to this technology.  i have not reviewed the claims of this patent, but i am virtually certain that apple will not get such broad claims as to cover all face recognition unlocking. they are much more likely to get a patent on some further improvement of this technology (for argument’s sake – off the top of my head – unlocking your phone into different apps based on certain funny faces you make).

    • SO much THIS. Based on what little I’ve seen so far this isn’t a broad application to patent all face recognition technology, it’s limited to specific uses of the technology under fairly well-defined conditions, one of which is ‘iOS-based devices’. Unless Android devices start using iOS they’ve got little to worry about, and if they DID start using iOS then they’d have much bigger problems to worry about.

    • Added links to both of your comments in the post now. Greatly appreciate the responses.

      • Anonymous

        thanks. i greatly appreciate your blog! please feel free to be in touch regarding any patent/IP items, issues, questions, etc… there is a surprising amount of misinformation and misunderstanding floating around with respect to these issues.

      • This is why I like Droid-Life so much. There are experts from different field jumping in to fill in the missing pieces in the main articles. Kellex, just an idea — may be Droid-Life can ask ParanoiaStrikes to do a comprehensive analysis of the current patent war b/w Apple and the Android camp.

        • Collin

          I must say, I really like this idea.

      • Anonymous

        I really think you should resort to being a little more professional than you currently are. The title is nothing more than pure link-bait. And there’s a ton of misinformation in your post. 

        I was actually working on similar tech (and no it wasn’t for a measly unlock), and what Apple is pursuing is fundamentally different than how “Face unlock” works. 

        Android’s face unlock is a response-based process, and only wakes up once the phone is queried for access. Apple’s method is based on any input it gets from the sensors, and is contextual (Time of the day, location) and would use data already present.

        If its any consolation: Image-based unlocks have existed a lot more earlier than either of these and I had used one on the iPhone last May, its decent but it’ll unlock even for photos of the person.

    • Anonymous
      • Anonymous

        I would have to take a closer look at the claims and the prosecution history (the back-and-forth with the USPTO where the patent applicant argues/negotiates with the USPTO over whether to grant the patent), but just quoting the abstract is pretty meaningless.  the abstract of a patent has no real legal weight – like i said before, its all about the claims. in order to infringe someone’s patent claim, you have to have each and every element or perform each and every step.  

        another point to keep in mind is that the ‘priority date’ of this patent goes back to january 2007.  what that means is that we need to step into a time machine of sorts, and beam ourselves back to early 2007 (as opposed to knowing what is on the market today) when considering whether or not there is something novel (and thus patentable here). only technology that came before 2007 could be cited as prior art against this patent. most patents (especially in this area) are in the pipeline for several years (anywhere from 3-5 i would say, on average),so the fact that existing or recent technology makes it seem trivial now is of little relevance. 

  • vargus21

    My gf has a Dell laptop that can do facial recognition for login. And she bought it 3 years ago. Nothing special here. It will be so ridiculous if Apple gets this patent.

  • Rob Haney

    Pretty funny that my 3 year old Asus laptop had facial unlock when I bought it new. Not that I give a damn about Face Unlock anyway. Its pretty annoying for everyday use. Still, Apple is really looking more and more like a bully each day. lol

  • Android should sue them back for the siri patent. Android had it first. 

    • Anonymous

      lol. nowhere near the sophistication of Siri.

      • They got they idea from android. Ever since G1 came out.

        • EC8CH

          And they got the idea from Picard.

          I dare any electronic device not to answer when summoned by Patrick Stewart:


    • Adam Brandt

      I was thinking the EXACT same thing.  And WHO CARES of the sofistication.  They had voice recognition on their devices years before Apple and while Siri (for now) is more sophisticates, they still had the basic technology WAY before Apple.  And I would say this is a MUCH bigger rip off then freakin slide to unlock.  How and WHY is Apple being given patents for things on touch screen devices that have existed in other forms for years on other devices or platforms.  Like clicking something in one app, and it opening in another app.  Wouldn’t this be like clicking a link in Firefox, or an mp3 on my desktop to which the associated media player opens up?  Or a million other examples of something linking to another application.  WHY does Apple get patents on ideas that have been around FOREVER.  People have said it before and it’s true; If Apple had invented the car a century ago, no one would be able to manufacture a device with 4 wheels.  They are trying to patent basic ideas of logic that just comes along with electronic operating systems.  Multi Touch…OF COURSE WHEN THE TECHNOLOGY IS THERE IN TOUCHSCREENS PEOPLE WILL USE MORE THEN ONE FINGER, it’s just LOGIC!!!!! UGH. People better start patenting now for future holographic interfaces if you want to stare at it in 3 dimensions or use more then your pointer finger, or maybe use winking your eyes as a way to interact with the interface because those simple ideas ALL DESERVE PATENTS!!!!!

      • they have patents on rectangles and crap, did you see apples statement to samsung telling them how to make their phones look less like an iphone? (imo they look nothing alike except for the face that both have bezel and rounded corners but uh so does almost every other phone) since when can they patent a shape

        • Adam Brandt

          I don’t even know what to say…the whole thing is simply crazy, and you can’t argue with crazy.  

          • i agree, what you said above sums up everything, apple is simply taking advantage of the patent office’s stupidity and its sad that it works

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, this is Google’s fault. The reason companies like Microsoft and Apple are in the position they are in is because they patent everything, even stuff they haven’t made yet. 

    Get the message Google: If you have a thought, or idea, and especially if you actually make something, patent the hell out of it. There is no reason why Apple should have patents on this and have the pull down notification pane in iOS5.

  • OreoMan

    I’m pretty sure the U.S. government already has this patent. They’ve been using facial recognition software for quite awhile now.

  • pete

    Why doesnt google file for patents?

  • Google should step up their game and start filling all kinds of patents. Vagina and penis detection technology could come in handy someday Google. Better step on it. Can you imagine that though? It would be so hilarious to see the “Couldn’t find penis” message.

    • QtDL

      Hilarious! 😀

    • Bob

      if you pay attention to google news, their acquisitions lately have been companies which hold lots of patents. Whether or not they use them, who knows, but they will have that advantage over apple.

  • none

    Apple patenting face unlock is good for their business. Its not about fairness, its about playing the damn game. Step your game up. 
    Posted by a guy who loves his g-nex

  • Anonymous

    That is fu@#ing bullsh!t. Grrrrrrrrrrr

  • Anonymous

    I am a patent attorney specializing in computer hardware/software,  telecom, mobile computing, etc., as well as a DL fan and reader. i see a lot of confusion about a number of items here so i want to clarify a few points that are clearly being misunderstood:

    1. the shift from ‘first to invent’ to ‘first to file’ has nothing to do with prior art. no patent will ever be valid if there is publicly available prior art that has made the invention known to the public before the patent filing.  The only difference arises in a case where A invented something before B, but B was quicker to file his patent application.  Under the ‘first to invent’ doctrine, if A can prove that he invented first, he will receive the patent even if he filed his patent application later.  first to file changes this, whereby it doesn’t matter when you came up with the idea – only when you filed the patent application.

    2.  no one (including apple) can simply get a patent on an ‘idea’ without (a lot) more. i can’t just patent the idea of ‘unlocking a phone with face recognition.’ in order for a patent to be valid, it must ‘enable’ the invention. in a nutshell, that means that there must be enough detail for someone else in the same field to be able to read the patent and understand exactly what the invention is, how it works, and how to make it.  abstract concepts are not enough – there must be concrete examples,steps,etc., which spell it out (here, likely a series of algorithms).

    • EC8CH

      You’re point 2:

      That’s why most times they use their design patents to block their competition from market. Much easier to patent a overly simple general design and not have to worry about inventing anything that requires specific claims.

      • Anonymous

        You’re =! your

        Sorry to be the english police..

        • Tylar Clark

          then dont

        • Rtmq0227


        • anonymous coward

          “=!” != “!=”

          Sorry to be the (probably still incorrect) syntax police..

    • Anonymous

      Laptops have clearly had this for a long time, meaning there is obviously public knowledge of the idea and implimentation of the idea…does that mean they definitely won’t be granted this patent?

      • Anonymous

        in addition to being something new (‘novel’), a patent will only be granted to an invention that is non-obvious. so, if the general concept of ‘face unlock’ already existed in laptops, and apple is simply trying to claim the same idea, just one a smartphone (without more), this would almost certainly be ‘obvious’ (since a smartphone is really just a mini computer anyways), and it is unlikely apple would succeed in being granted such a patent.

        however, as i mentioned previously, it is unlikely that apple will succeed in getting a broad, all encompassing patent on all applications of ‘face unlock,’ but will have a greater chance of success on various additional features that they contribute (e.g., unlock to an app based on different faces, etc.).

        • Anonymous

          The problem is, “obvious” is a relative term. There have been plenty of software patents that have been awarded that many would see as obvious, but the patent troll biased US District Court of East Texas allows anyway.

    • Gasaraki

      IBM laptops had face unlock years ago. I hope this patent gets invalidated.

  • IBM showed face recognition unlocking at CES in 2008 for its IdeaPad notebook series. I was there.

  • What a joke… massive fail

  • this is why Open Source is a bad thing when it comes to certain things. However there should be a law against such actions.

  • miscreant

    This had seriously better be a joke. I also hope Google goes after their sorry asses for this. The technology exists and they are very plainly stealing it. How can they even get away with filing for patent…on someone elses idea? F this country and its ridiculous legal system…

    • Granted

      Apparently you’ve never viewed other countries legal systems.

      • To be fair, there are countries that don’t recognize IP or at the very least don’t recognize software patents. 🙂
        Although I suppose you might be pro-patent, so that might be a negative to you.

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t dell also have this in one of their laptops? Or and I imagining that?

    • i think they did on one of their 2010 all in one touch screen desktops i believe O.o

  • are u f’n kidding me? 

  • Anonymous

    Apple are a bunch of freaking jealous fools. F’n idiots.

    Seriously though, I hate Apple now more than ever. If I see someone walking down the street on the same side as I’m walking with an iPhone 4S, I’m going to snatch it away from them and smash it on the ground, then start doing a little dance.

    • Anonymous


      • Drew Galyen

        I’m not a part of your SYSTEM

    • Anonymous

      This patent was filed over a year ago. They aren’t stealing from android. 

    • Anonymous

      Look out for this guy!!! Tough!!!
      I’m just bustin your balls bro, don’t come around my way & smash my droidz 🙂

      • Anonymous


        Like I’d actually do that. In jail, there are no Android phones…only iPhones. That would be horrible.

    • Anonymous

      Whoa theres an irate dumball on the losse hide your iPhone :O

    • Gadgetskopf
  • Anonymous

    This has more to do with face recognition for user accounts than just unlock. It’s not quite the same as the novelty on android devices at the moment. They’re thinking ahead on the patents for their upcoming releases, assuming it works. Idea is it will be able to recognize the user and customize their device automatically for them when they “log” in. 

    • Unique

      XBox aready has that!

    • apple have customizations? oh yeah, the notification bar and that new widget rip off design theyre planning on using. just sayin

  • Ugh, Apple.

  • Bewara2009


  • Rockrdr

    Why doesn’t Apple sue all the movie companies, because you can watch movies on an apple, I’m sure there is a patent infringement there somewhere 😐 really ???!!!   are they hurting that bad?
    I know they suck, but now I know they s_w_a_l_l_o_w !!! Gez!!!!

    • Anonymous

      This patent was filed over a year ago. They aren’t stealing from android.

  • Anonymous

    Proof that apple isnt trying to “defend” its innovations. Good luck apple. You suck.

    • Anonymous


  • Tboltuser

    @Spiros Zangotsis – Google “prior art”.

    • PC_Tool

      Prior art is meaningless now.  The US is now a First-to-file country.

  • Anonymous

    Off topic but does anyone know about the USB tether? Does Verizon charge for this? Are they aware you are using it? Has anyone tried it? Does it stay connected. I have a Droid Bionic.

    • QtDL

      Yes they charge for that – c’mon it’s Verizon. You can only do free if you are rooted – be careful if you have data caps or if you have unlimited data and go from 1 GB/month to 10 GB/month they will throw your azz onto a tiered plan (apparently that’s in the fine print somewhere).

    • Anonymous

      I use Easy Tether (usually $9.99, got it on Amazon Appstore for $4.99 a few weeks ago) and it works perfectly on my Thunderbolt.

      And yes, it uses TONS of data. I’m on unlimited, but I haven’t been kicked off of the unlimited plan. I wouldn’t worry about that part too much.

    • As an Ex- Verizon employee. I have looked into this. Without the rooting Verizon charges $20 per Month for 2 gigs however on an old unlimited plan they charge $30! However No data Cap for the older plan. I don’t know about the plan changing for rooted phones using a lot of data. Theoretically I would think that with unlimited and Netflix one could easily go over ten Gigs. And If rooted how would they know how your using that data? 

  • STiK


  • guys, dont forget about the innovative 4 inch screen iShit 5 that comes out next fall 

  • IS THIS A JOKE?  i cannot stand this company anymore. it literally makes me sick when i see apple stores now. 

    • Anonymous

      Seriously, same here. They suck, AT&T sucks, etc.

    • Anonymous

      This patent was filed over a year ago. They aren’t stealing from android.

    • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Apple is a JOKE!!!!!

  • I’m pretty sure the majority of the patent is covered by prior art and already owned patents, seeing as how there have been face recognition systems since the 60s and built into security systems since at least the early 90s.

    The only thing Apple could conceivably cover with this patent is the application of the technology specifically on an iOS device.. perhaps they’re looking to lock out any third-party app developers or get some leverage to charge royalties when another company wants to take advantage of it on iOS devices.

    • EC8CH

      but this time…. IT”S ON A PHONE!


  • Dave Watson

    Apple dumped the geek/hobbyist market to go after the highly profitable moron/trendy market

  • Bert336

    somebody needs to seriously go and bomb the apple’s headquarters!! this is ridiculous! quit your god damn hating APPLE!

    • DroidzFX

      slow down al qaeda

    • Flagged as inappropriate, you f*cking moron.

  • QtDL

    Shouldn’t Google already have patents on this stuff since it has already been manufactured??

    • EC8CH

      it depends on if any prior art exists that predates the patent filing date.

  • Shuetteman

    He who files first wins.  If there is no prior art in this area Apple will win.

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately, you are correct…

    • Anonymous

      There’s plenty of prior art…

    • Anonymous

      I’d imagine that Google filed a patent first on Face Unlock.

      If they didn’t……that’s certainly not good.

    • Anonymous

      Nope. Apple does not win. Their Lawyers win. Apple only wins if they make money from their patents. They want to destroy competition. That won’t happen. See their multi-million suit with HTC. It accomplished nothing, but their lawyers are celebrating big time this holiday.

  • Rob

    Someone please tell me Google has already applied for this patent… I mean C’MON SON!

  • Stupid. So Dummy. 

  • U Mad Bro? No But Your Mom Is

    Typical Apple. Pathetic, but not surprising.

    • Anonymous

      This patent was filed over a year ago. They aren’t stealing from android.

  • Anonymous

    Have this printed in my office – couldn’t resist

    • QtDL

      That was flippin’ hilarious! 😀

  • andrew z

    The skys blue, oranges are orange, what else has changed today?

  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t matter when Apple applied the patent. The fact is, Google found the technology to do it first, so Google should be granted the patent, not Apple. 
    Companies shouldn’t be granted patents for simply ideas. Show the offices living proof that they are able to do so, and then patents should be given. 

    • Patent laws have changed, it doesn’t matter who has it working first. It is who got the patent office first. Welcome to Unlogicalworld.

      • QtDL

        So I can apply for a patent for something that doesn’t exist yet and don’t have it working yet, let someone else get it working and sue them for stealing my idea (that I don’t have working yet)?? That’s F%@&ED up.

        • EC8CH

          no you can’t do that… 

          …Apple has a patent on doing that.

          • Butters619

            I almost just spit out my drink when reading this

          • Roddog

            F-ing hilarious!

          • QtDL

            That made me giggle…..too bad it’s true!

          • Anonymous

            LMAO nice one

        • Anonymous

          Just wait for the year 2200… The George Lucas foundation will own like 50,000 patents ranging from Droids to Light Sabers that are 200 years old…. The Nemoy foundation will be there direct competetor having patented the warp drive and transporter….. lol

        • Depends.. the way I understand it, you would have a strong case for forcing the other party to either stop their production or cut a deal with you for royalties/licensing fees, but traditionally you also have to show evidence that you are actively interested in developing or bringing the technology to market. This can range from notes you’ve written about possible marketing or letters to potential production partners, to full blown prototypes in various states of market readiness.

          Unfortunately that requirement has been harder to enforce when it comes to more advanced technology and especially software.. not everyone has the ability to fabricate the things they can imagine, which is why many patent holders spend alot of time and money looking for partners. It doesn’t help that there are a number of ‘patent troll’ friendly federal courts whose presiding judges are clueless about technology and proud of that fact, yet refuse to recuse themselves even when they clearly have no understanding of anything they are being asked to decide.

          • QtDL

            So next random idea I have floating around in my head for something I can’t get to work – like being able to live beam your friend via phone hologram style for live chats? File patent tomorrow and wait for someone else to get it working though.

          • No, it doesn’t work that way. You don’t patent a raw idea, you patent the process or device that enables you to fulfill that idea. Unless you can illustrate the HOWS of your idea in a clear enough manner that someone with similar resources can also understand what you are doing, you won’t get a patent. Otherwise I could patent ‘Make stuff happen’ and turn around and sue everyone for everything ever.

            At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.

          • QtDL

            Fair enough. I’ll get it working soon though, just wait…..

          • Please keep me updated, I’d like to invest when you decide to go to market. 😉

          • QtDL

            I am also working on retinal scan unlock for Android. 😀

        • Anonymous

          Yes, you can do exactly that. The logic is that patent law awards people for coming up with innovative ideas that move our society forward. Others can license your ideas and everyone wins.

          The problem is that they end up awarding patents for obvious stuff like clicking on a phone number and having it launch the dialer and there’s not much you can do about it once the patent is awarded.

          • EC8CH

            there’s not much you can do about it once the patent is awarded.”

            yes there is… you spend millions of dollars on lawyers to argue in court that stuff like that is obvious. Patents are more about making lawyers money than inventors nowadays. Check that… it’s always been that way.

  • Anonymous

    They will still be awarded the patent. Because its Apple.

  • Lmrojas

    Im selling my MacBook air I will never own another apple product.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, f the lotta ’em!

      Android here and now, and forever.

    • Jroc869, Cool story bro

      ive already said the same thing about not owning any crapple products ever. I might even put my wifes *pad two on the from porch now. I loath crapple.

    • I was really considering on buying an ipad but after this mess…I would rather stick to my green buddy

      • Anonymous

        I still have my Video iPad and it lives in my closet, but it’s praying every day I don’t feed it to my Android(I named my dog Android).

        Suck it, Apple!

        NOTE: I never named my dog Android, because well, I don’t even have a dog. BUT if I did have a dog, its name would be Android.

      • Anonymous

        Really? Do you even know what is going on? Apple filed for this in June. Google bought a company that did this in July. It really isn’t a mess! Just overblown, sensational BS posted by a sub-par website.

        PS. Do yourselves a favor and read Androidandme.com, way better coverage than this sensationalist BS.

        • kretz7

          People come here to read verizon/droid news. I read many of the Android blogs and this is still my favorite. Thanks for your opinion though…

        • Anonymous

          And yet you are here on this “sub-par” website posting.No wonder you type BS you visit androidandme.com what a joke.

      • Anonymous

        Have you used an Ipad?  I was at a conference where they issued Ipads for the attendees to use and I HATED it.  What a total pain in the a$& to use!  Holy crap.  Not having a back or home button basically makes the device a single tasker.  Multi-tasking is almost impossible.  At best it’s very very cumbersome.  My wife’s company only supports the Ipad and she loves the function that they support (Citrix remote access).  I know that Android supports that, but her IT department doesn’t support Android tablets yet….  I just could not stand to use an Idevice.  How restrictive and frustrating.

        • HolyGrail

          Well then don’t use it…..some of us like options.

        • I have and yes its a bit complicated to use. I don’t own a tablet but I’ve tested most android tablets and of course both ipads. Each has its pros and cons. What I like about android is there’s a selection and ipad not really. But I do like that fact that apple has a lot of vendors behind their brand. Android really lacks this. One particular that I have in mind is the Line6 mobile in module for both iphone and ipad. I wish they would make you for the android soon.

    • Anonymous

      Trust me, Apple doesn’t want idiots like you who believe what you are told. This was filed over a year ago. They aren’t stealing from android.

      • EC8CH

        No they are just trying to patent something that is blatantly obvious and has been implemented countless time before their patent application was filed only in a slightly different type of device (ie laptops).

      • Anonymous

        what company doesn’t want idiots who believe what they’re told to buy their products? Apple’s most vocal market is made up of these people, and they’re all over my damn facebook 

        • Anonymous

          Yes, 100% agreed.

    • Michael Forte

      Sorry, Apple has the patent on selling their products, therefore if you try to resell them for your own profit, prepare to be sued.

      • Anonymous

        Sure, but they still suck.

      • Anonymous


      • Anonymous

        True, might as well burn it in a glorious fire. Call me, I’ll bring my Apple stuff and we’ll have a nice bonfire.

    • Anonymous

      No, you aren’t. 

    • Ben

      I’ll buy it off you. How does $10 sound, you stupid fanboy?

      • Anon

        About as much as an iPad is worth.

    • @readers:disqus my buddy’s step-sister makes $85 every hour on the internet. last month her pay was $7783 just working on the internet for a few hours.read about it and Follow the instructions at Online Income solution and set up your account.. http://goo.gl/xgAEQ

  • Anonymous

    Question: Is is possible that this feature could be remove from our GNexus (ICS)?

    • Tony Allen

      In theory, yes, Apple could use this if granted to them, in order to pressure Google to remove this feature.

    • Peter Kelly

      Or, would we truly care?
      Face unlock is a party trick.  Ooooh, see what my phone can do!  
      Like Siri.  “Where can I get rid of a dead body?”  

      Real life, day to day, I’m guessing that neither is used on a regular basis.  Siri, maybe to check the weather.  iOS has no widgets that just let you know.

  • Anonymous

    From Engadget: “Update: An important thing to note is that Apple applied for this patent long before Android’s Face Unlock debuted a few months back. The paper work was first submitted on June 29th, 2010 — it’s just now being disclosed to the public.”

    Edit: Looks like Spiros Zangotsis beat me to it

  • Tkampka

    guess its time to burn them down!

  • Michael Forte

    Apple always thinks they invented everything and then sue over it. Douchebags. Actually the whole patent system is what’s really screwed up granting patents that are pretty much common sense.

  • Sdg7

    Interesting: (According to Engadget)
    “Update: An important thing to note is that Apple applied for this patent long before Android’sFace Unlock debuted a few months back. The paper work was first submitted on June 29th, 2010 — it’s just now being disclosed to the public.”

  • From that i was reading they sent the patent in before ICS was announced.

  • Spiros Zangotsis

    “An important thing to note is that Apple applied for this patent long before Android’s Face Unlock
    debuted a few months back. The paper work was first submitted on June
    29th, 2010 — it’s just now being disclosed to the public.”

    • Anonymous

      Was just about to point that out…HOWEVER, face unlock has been on laptops for some years now as well. Odds of them getting this patent are slim to none.

      • Anonymous

        Depends – I believe the code for the facial recognition (at least from Android) was an open source project hosted by Google for years. I guess we’ll see how much weight open source can have in the courtroom.

        I downloaded and compiled that code on my linux laptop 2+ years ago – didn’t know it was Google’s until I downloaded the source code.

        Regardless, this is complete and utter BS.

        • Anonymous

          Correct. Prior art invalidates patents, and I’m sure there’s plenty to kill this one. Still crap on Apple’s part.

          • PC_Tool

            The America Invents Act of 2011, which was signed by President Obama on September 16, 2011 will switch U.S. rights to the patent from the present “first-to-invent” system to a “first-to-file” system for patent
            applications filed on or after March 16, 2013.

            Prior art won’t matter for much longer…

          • Anonymous

            Oh for fucks sake……

          • Granted

            That act is garbage, like everything else he signed. I’m just hoping the NDAA gets vetoed…..

          • Ytram

            “First to invent” versus “first to file” doesn’t include any prior art considerations.  In fact the America Invents Act is more inclusive of what is considered prior art, and also allows for third-party submission of prior art.  So if you see Apple dicking around with a patent application of which you have verified and legal prior art examples, YOU can be the one to submit it against their patent app.

      • EC8CH

        and yet they can lay claim to all flat rectangular devices due to design patents.

        patent system = busted

    • Abra

      I wonder if Google applied for this patent too. If they didn’t then that’s a dumb move on Google’s part.

      • Android is open source, you can’t patent parts of it, as far as I know. Just the way it works I guess.

    • Spiros Zangotsis

      im not arguing the article i was just pointing out that tid bit of info.  Face unlock doesnt even like my face anyways so it doesnt matter to me.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, and I’m sure Google didn’t start working on this until the day before ICS was unveiled.  -_-

      • Lol actually from as poorly as this feature works I almost wouldn’t be surprised.  Not trollin, just saying face unlock is a mostly useless feature with a 2d camera and a tiny sensor.

        • Baked14

          Mine works pretty good. I don’t use it BC I don’t need it but it works.

          • Blootzm3

            works realy well on my phone I actualy use it. Opens up my phone to me only, and is faster then inputing a code or patern

        • Anonymous

          For its intended purpose it actually works pretty well.
          And yes if I’m in the dark it has a hard time seeing me but let’s be serious. I am very happy with how well it works.

          I did read somewhere that it does not work very well for ugly people.

      • Anonymous

        Google didn’t directly work on it for long, it was acquired tech from a company they had bought in July this year.

    • Jikhead

      If that’s the case, then my almost 3 year old point-and-shoot Sony Cybershot had face detetction before either Apple or Google.

    • That’s actually a really important point. Just as important, however, is that patents protect an implementation, not an idea. If Apple is granted this patent, Android will be safe as long as the implementation is different.