Taipei, Oct. 27 (CNA) Premier Wu Den-yih directed relevant government agencies Thursday to assess the possible impact on local companies of Apple Inc.'s latest success in winning the "Slide-to-Unlock" patent.
The directive came two days after the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted the U.S.-based consumer electronics giant a patent on its iconic handset's unlocking mechanism -- the now famous Slide-to-Unlock component.
Slide to Unlock was one of the features that made Apple's first handset -- the iPhone -- popular when it was released in 2007 and a lot of smartphone platforms such as Android and Windows Phone have since adopted the concept.
The component is a device with a touch-sensitive display that can be unlocked via gestures performed on the display. Media reports said Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs loved the device very much because it allowed users to unlock iPhones very easily. Apple submitted the patent application in December 2005, a little over a year before the iPhone was unveiled.
Speaking at a weekly Cabinet meeting, Wu said he is very concerned about the possible adverse effects of Apple's latest patent victory on Taiwanese companies, particularly those in the smartphone and tablet sectors.
Wu 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.
The MOEA and the ITRI should do their best to help defend the legitimate rights and interests of local companies in any patent fights with Apple, the premier added.
(By Hsieh Chia-jen and Sofia Wu)