All the Android users know about OS’ in-built pattern unlock function, which let you set a custom shape as your unlock pattern. Apart from saving you from accidental touches, unlock pattern is unique and nobody else knows it apart from you, so it gives decent amount of security as well.
United States Patent & Trademark Office today gave Google the patent of this unlock technology. This is also important in the light of recent patent by Apple for its slide to unlock feature.
Titled as “Touch Gesture Actions from a Device’s Lock Screen”, this patent states that A lock screen view is displayed on the mobile device to prevent unauthorized and inadvertent access to the mobile device’s data. While the mobile device is locked, a touch gesture having a pre-defined shape is detected on a touch screen of the mobile device independently of the initial position of the touch gesture on the touch screen.
Although most of the Android manufacturers use ‘slide to unlock’ variants as their primary unlock mechanisms, they have the fall-back option to set pattern unlock as primary, in case Apple starts suing them.
You can read more about the patent here (search for no 20110283241).