Apple Inc. lost a ruling at Germany’s top civil court over a patent for unlocking smartphones with a finger swipe.
Judges on Tuesday said that the iPhone maker’s method didn’t reach a level of sophistication needed to award patent protection — backing an earlier patent tribunal ruling in favor of Lenovo Group Ltd.’s Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.
“This user-friendly display was already suggested by the state of the art,” the Karlsruhe-based court wrote. “The contested patent thus isn’t based on an invention.”
Apple’s German press office didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment.
Samsung Electronics Co. had initially joined Motorola Mobility in the case, but later withdrew.
In 2012, Apple won a Munich court injunction against Motorola Mobility based on the patent. That case is pending on appeal and was stayed to wait for the outcome of Tuesday’s suit.