Today, nearly three years after their filing, the United States Patent & Trademark Office awarded Apple a patent that covers the design of the iPhone's popping character keyboard and slide to unlock functions.

The patent in question, "Animated graphical user interface for a display screen or portion thereof," is concerned with the specific design of these functions on the iPhone as opposed to their general usage, which basically means you can't make a "slide to unlock" bar that has glowy, pulsating text. Yep, patents are pretty silly. [GoRumors]