Saturday, June 9, 2012

Apple Patents the MacBook Air’s Wedge Design — Bad News for Ultrabook Makers

Apple Patents the MacBook Air’s Wedge Design — Bad News for Ultrabook Makers:

The Macbook Air design patent targets ultrabook market. Illustration: USPTO
The ultrabook landscape it littered with notebooks that look suspiciously like the MacBook Air. Apple’s thin, wedge-like form factor has become a staple of the PC notebook sector. And it’s a design that was just patented by Apple.
That’s right: Apple was granted a design patent for the MacBook Air’s wedge form factor on Tuesday. The design patent titled “Electronic device” is one the of the least descriptive patent names to come out of Cupertino. And, in fact, the patent is light on text but heavy on drawings of the Macbook Air.

Apple's "Electronic device" Illustration: USPTO
The drawings reference not only the physical lines of the notebook, but also the metal casing of the design. In the United States, a design patent prohibits the creation of a product whose design is not only identical to that of the patent, but also merely similar. Design similarity is ultimately decided by judges, and could lead to extended litigation between Apple and its competitors.
Like all design patents, the patent for “Electronic device” has a lifespan of 14 years. After that, anyone could make a Macbook Air clone. Of course, by then we’ll all be wearing computer contacts lenses and we’ll laugh about the intense weight of the current crop of ultrabooks.
Via The Verge

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