RIM awarded patent for "pattern tap to unlock", actively testing on BlackBerry 7.1 devices

Pattern Unlock
By Bla1ze on 6 Mar 2012 04:23 pm EST

When it comes to patents, many companies often attempt to patent some strange things that will never see the light of day. But often times, those elborate patents cover some basic things that do manage to be put into use and such is the case with one of RIM recently awarded patents. In 2006, RIM applied for patent #8,125,312:

System and method for locking and unlocking access to an electronic device:

The invention relates to a system and method for unlocking and unlocking access to a device. In the system, an access management system for an electronic device is provided. The system comprises: a sensor providing a tap signal; a monitoring circuit connected to the sensor to process aspects of the tap signal; and an access management module operating on the device receiving the tap signal from the monitoring circuit to evaluate the tap signal against a preset tap pattern and to change an access state of the device if the tap signal completes a match for the tap pattern. 

A few days ago, they were awarded that patent. Meaning, they can go ahead and make use of it any time they want and start putting it to work on any of their devices they do so wish. Seems RIM hasn't wasted any time though, as new information suggests they are already actively testing this out on BlackBerry 7.1 devices internally and presumably, upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices as well. Maybe something to look for in the next set of leaked BlackBerry 7.1 builds?

PS: Since some seem to think the image is what RIM will be offering, it is not -- it's an app.

Source: USPTO Via: Engadget

Reader comments

RIM awarded patent for "pattern tap to unlock", actively testing on BlackBerry 7.1 devices


Looks similar to the Android screen lock as far as appearance. Looking forward to this feature for Blackberry OS 7 and Blackberry OS 10.

Having a patent covering a specific technology area does not allow a patent holder to implement that technology. Your implementation may infringe other broader, earlier patents in the same technology area.

However, what a patent allows a patent holder to do is to exclude others from practicing the invention (as defined in the claims).

Any word on when the next leaked 7.1 os's are going to be leaked? Wondering if I should update to .267

Haha, I swear I was about half a second away from taking a sip of my morning cup of joe before I read your comment. Pulled back just to "lol"!

I wonder if this means all the pattern apps will have to cease and desist? I wonder what other goodies are coming to BB10.

I was just thinking this myself. If I understand the language of the patent request correctly, they are well within their legal rights to go after both Android and the multitude of developers that make pattern lock-like apps. But RIM is typically "nicer" than Apple so I doubt they'll go after Devs. I mean, RIM redefined how LEDs functioned on phones but they haven't gone after the good people behind BeBuzz...

So does Android have to figure out yet another new way to unlock their phones? They filed for this in 06 when it would have been a big deal, but now it's just another way people unlock their phones. I hope they don't go all Apple and sue the Android makers that use the pattern unlock.

after MONTHS of begging, pleading and hacking, i have patternlock for 7.1

i hacked the jad, used an old jad, AND ended up BUYING the OFFICIAL....so its safe to say I will keep patternlock FOREVER! A little too late RIM but Im glad we have a patent somewhere...just in case they come crashing down on patternlock and I have no choice but to switch to the blackberry version haha...

I win either way...
Ivan S. Harris

I believe it's "make do" not "make due". Unless you have a weird Canadian saying or something. On topic though, this looks kinda interesting.

Is this means that we can get the security of password protection on an BlackBerry with a pattern?

The problem with app based locks, it is easy to by pass the pattern lock by either plugging in the phone to a DM or by preventing the locking app from running at the first place.

If RIM integrate the pattern lock to their core security files, it will be impossible to by pass the lock.

Does this mean that current Anroid/iOS devices can not use this feature and if so, they have to pay RIM.

people i dont think its the same pattern lock its more a Tap to unlock so i dont think this has much to do with android

Tapping gives you way more variables than dragging your finger to connect dots in a pattern
so it would be more secure. Great job.

I think gives way for entering a password, instead of entering a password just tap whatever on the screen, nice for touch devices.

Yeah, it's a really nice feature for touchscreens since typing a password on it would be a hassle. Way cooler than slide to unlock, which is kinda pointless in my opinion since it provides no security.