Does Apple owe Jim McKeeth money?

Jim McKeeth, the RemObjects evangelist who runs, was a coworker of mine before he left for RO.  Another coworker just pointed me to a couple articles that mention his name.

Slide to unlock is not Apple’s patent

Smartphone Wars: Micron’s Slide-to-Unlock Patent

Apparently the patent office essentially just ruled that the infamous “slide to unlock” patent that Apple has been beating Samsung and other companies that make Android devices over the head with is actually invalid, because another company, Micron PC, invented it several years before Apple did.  And the name associated with Micron’s patent is Jim McKeeth.

Of course, when something like this happens, you wonder if it’s the same guy or not.  Sometimes people have the same name, you know.  But I did some checking, and it appears that he did used to work at Micron.

So, does Apple owe Jim McKeeth money for this bogus “innovation” that they’ve been extorting money from all sorts of smartphone companies over?  It would be deliciously ironic if they did.

Jim, if you’re reading this, would you mind leaving a comment on the subject?


  1. Jim McKeeth says:

    Yup, that is me, and that is my patent. No money for me since I licensed it to a previous employer (Micron).

  2. Jim, did you make billions off the licensing?

    • Jim McKeeth says:

      Not billions, but Micron had a generous patent program with some modest bonuses involved.

      • Joseph says:

        I once got to talk with an eccentric, brilliant scientist at AT&T’s famous lab. He mentioned the millions of dollars his patents had earned but he’d essentially sold the rights to all of them to AT&T when he began working there for what amounted to the price of a few cans of soup. “However,” he added, “I was hungry and really wanted that soup.”

  3. François says:


    Seems to me that Apple should give to Micron all the monies they asked from Samsung.. (that is if all this crap is in any way logical).

    Not the 1st time (nor the last) Apple tried to pull this kind of thing out.

    Congrats Jim 😉

    • Jim McKeeth says:

      Sylvain: A Design patent is for the design, not the functionality. My patent is on the basic functionality.

      Also, it is the responsibility of the patent filer to list any prior art. Failure to list prior art (which may include a previous patent) can result in the patent being invalidated. While my patent doesn’t cover the design, it certainly covers the functionality. So their new patent could be later invalidated if they didn’t do a proper patent search.

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