The swipe-to-unlock feature is found on a multitude of different touchscreen smartphones today, but the idea officially belongs to Apple, according to the U.S. Patent Office.

Depending on how Apple wields its newly granted patent, it could mean trouble for makers of Android phones, many of which use slide-to-unlock features that sound very similar, notes “MacNewsWorld” ( The swipe-to-unlock idea became the intellectual property of Apple this week when the U.S. Patent Office approved the company’s patent for “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image.” The original patent was filed in December 2005, more than a year before the first iPhone was released.

“Focus Taiwan” ( says that Taiwan Premiere Wu Den-yih is concerned about the possible adverse effects of Apple’s latest patent victory on Taiwanese companies, particularly those in the smartphone and tablet sectors. Wu has directed the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) to look into the matter. If necessary, he said, the two agencies should collaborate to help domestic companies deal with possible patent infringement disputes with Apple, reports “Focus Taiwan.”