OnePlus 5T's Face Unlock May Infringe On Certain Patents

The Face Unlock feature of the OnePlus 5T that's also making its way to the OnePlus 5 may infringe on certain patents owned by Sensible Vision, a Florida-based security solutions company, MySmartPrice reported earlier this month, citing Sensible Vision co-founder and Chief Executive Officer George Brostoff. The entrepreneur claims the Chinese phone maker might have infringed on one or more patents held by the U.S. firm, noting that Face Unlock is far from a revolutionary technology and something Sensible Vision has been offering "for years." Based on the company's advertising materials promoting Face Unlock, Mr. Brostoff believes the firm is "at the very least" infringing on Sensible Vision's patent detailing its face illumination technology and may also be in other violations.

The U.S. security systems provider didn't license its solutions to either OnePlus or its Chinese parts suppliers and has previously contacted its legal representatives over the matter, though a patent infringement lawsuit presently seems unlikely. The protected illumination technology referenced by Mr. Brostoff encompasses a technique of utilizing a smartphone screen in order to lighten up a user's face and facilitate the process of identifying it using the front-facing camera of the same device. Sensible Vision's solutions in question are understood to only be protected in the United States and as OnePlus is a Chinese company with a small stateside presence, any legal action against it likely wouldn't be financially beneficial to the provider of authentication systems even if it was able to prove patent infringement in court, according to some industry watchers.

In a later comment on the matter, Mr. Brostoff suggested Sensible Vision is much more likely to name OnePlus as a customer than a defendant in the near future, though the two companies presently don't have a working relationship. That may change in the future as the Guangdong, Shenzhen-based phone maker recently started placing a larger focus on the U.S. and even held the first stateside product launch event in its history earlier this summer, having officially announced the OnePlus 5T in New York City. Face Unlock is also expected to be a selling point of the OnePlus 6 which is likely to hit the market by late spring or early summer, according to recent reports.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]