Pretty much every phone before the iPhone used a recessed button for unlock or sequential button presses. Now, I do believe this patent is a little too obvious and keeping people to use a slide to unlock for 14 years is ridiculous, but I do believe it was somewhat novel at the time.
Why do you think it was novel?
As pointed out, it wasn't first anyway. But even if it was - the point is that for _any_ given feature, there will always be a first product it appears in. This therefore doesn't imply being first is novel, unless you're claiming that everything ever is "novel". And if everything ever got patented by whoever happened to make it first, the industry would grind to a halt.
But this isn't anything first - it's something already done (sliding to unlock), but now on a touchscreen. Should anyone who is first to do something on a touchscreen get a patent? What about a click? Or double click? Is this magically novel because it's a touchscreen?
It's like how Doom made it so obvious to make a bunch of Doom-clones and WoW made it so obvious to make a bunch of Wow clones.
There is nothing "obvious" here.
Maybe you're like the "idea guys" people who frequent the Help Wanted forums, who think the hardest thing about writing an MMO is simply coming up with the idea. But as the rest of us know, ideas are the easy part.
Now, in Doom there were specific technology problems that needed to be solved, and perhaps the same applies to WOW. Yes, if all you want to do is do something done before, it's easier if someone's figured out these problems and published the results. But this applies to all kinds of new games that come out, all the time. It's natural in technology for products to get better. A patent means that that stops - because suddenly no one else can use it. The problem is that even new technology still needs to build on the existing ideas and technology. Imagine if Doom or WOW couldn't have been written, because of all the previously existing game elements they used were also patented?
Not that the technology problems in Doom and WOW are anything like the joke of "innovation" that is under discussion here regarding Apple.
Doom 3 itself is an example against software patents - it turned out that the shadowing algorithm had already been patented by someone else, even though Carmack had independently derived the algorithm. ID managed to license it - had Apple have owned the patent, we wouldn't have Doom 3 (or at least, it wouldn't have had shadows).
Carmack is a vocal opponent of software patents, so it's a bit rich to use Doom as an example in favour of them!
It wasn't obvious until someone did it. That is the nature of software. Hard to create, easy to duplicate.
Duplication is covered by copyright law. Software patents mean it's illegal, even if you create it yourself, just because someone else patented it first.