Skip to content Skip to navigation

Apple's Famous "Slide-To-Unlock" Patent Under EPO's Mock Trial

When: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 15:00 to 17:30
Venue: SMU School of Law, 55 Armenian Street, Moot Court, Level 1, Singapore 179943


The mock trial relates to Apple’s famous “slide-to-unlock” patent and is based on a corresponding European patent tailored to the needs of that mock trial.

The patent underlying the mock trial is concerned with a mobile device comprising a touch-sensitive display that 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 mock trial is intended to demonstrate the practice of oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal (BoA) of the European Patent Office. In particular, it addresses procedural aspects such as admissibility issues concerning late-filed claim sets and evidence (e.g. prior-art documents) and substantive aspects such as the patentability of computer-implemented inventions (CIIs) including both technical and non-technical features. Based on the present exemplary case of graphical user interface (GUI) related inventions, it is further intended to provide some guidance, based on the established jurisprudence of the BoA (see e.g. T 336/14), as to whether a certain visual indicator of a GUI relates to non-patentable “presentation of information as such” that is merely directed to a human’s cognitive process and thus to a non-technical feature or to a credible technical effect.

As to the assessment of novelty and inventive step, the mock trial will rely on the two prior-art documents (“Neonode N1 Quick Start”; “Touchscreen Toggle Design”) that were also used in some national nullity cases and eventually led to the revocation of the patent."



Dr. Christopher Heath, qualified in Germany who studied in Germany and the UK, lived and worked in Japan, and thereafter came to the Max Planck Institute for Patent and Copyright Law in Munich and finished his PhD. At the Max Planck, head of the Asian department between 1992 and 2005, a judge of the Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Office (officially called "Member of the Boards of Appeal").

Dr. Michael Pook, German, technical chairman of a mechanical board. The board is specialized in printing technology.

Dr. Philipp Lanz, Austrian, technical member of the same technical board.

Dr. Kemal Bengi, Turkish, technical member of a board that deals with computer-implemented inventions and AI.



Kung-Chung LIU holds an LL.B. and LL.M. from National Taiwan University and a Doctorate from the Ludwig Maximilian Universitaet (University of Munich). He was a Research Fellow at Academia Sinica, Taiwan until 2017. In 2003, he was a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow for the IP Academy of Singapore. Professor Liu has served as one of the founding Commissioners of the National Communications Commission in Taiwan between 2006 and 2007. In 2014-15, he was a Visiting Professor at the School of Law, Singapore Management University, and the Founding Director of the Applied Research Centre for Intellectual Assets and the Law in Asia (ARCIALA). In addition, he has been co-appointed Professor at the Renmin University, China (2017), and the Graduate Institute of Technology, Innovation & Intellectual Property Management, National Chengchi University, Taiwan (since 2010).

The event is by-invitation only.

Last updated on 06 Dec 2019 .