Oh, Apple. Just when we thought you had successfully managed to patent everything from here to Cupertino, you find something else to claim as your own.
If you’ve been keeping up with the patent wars, you may have heard about Apple’s on-going battles with Samsung (over pretty much everything) and their legal entanglements with Motorola over the whole ‘slide-to-unlock’ feature on their smartphones. The latest news (via The Verge) is that Apple has patented the wedge-shape of the MacBook Air. Yip, the entire design.
Apple applied for the patent in July last year, and US patent D661,296 was issued this week — and extends for the next 14 years. The document is pretty much just a collection of drawings depicting a laptop from various angles — the dotted lines show parts which can vary, while the solid lines depict the areas which fall under the patent.
Using these lines as a guide, you can see how the patent extends to the general shape of the laptop — so even if other manufacturers have a laptop with a slightly different contoured back or dissimilar ports, hinges and feet on their products, they are still violating the patent, and Apple can let loose its army of a legal team. You can see how this might spell trouble for ultrabook manufacturers like HP and Asus, when products like the HP Envy Spectre XT and Asus’ Zenbook Prime look very wedge-shaped indeed. I guess it’s back to boxy rectangular laptops for the kids without an iDevice.
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