Apple Scores Patent for MacBook Air Design

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Apple has a new tool to help protect PC makers from copying its product designs thanks to a recently awarded patent covering the distinct shape of the MacBook Air.

New patent protects the MacBook Air design from copycatsNew patent protects the MacBook Air design from copycats

Apple’s new patent, D661,296, dives into the details that make up the MacBook Air’s physical shape such as the wedge angle when the lid is closed and the teardrop body shape. Competing PC makers hoping to copy Apple’s design for their own laptops will have to watch closely to avoid infringing on the patent because it’s specific enough to potentially keep them making MacBook Air knockoffs even if they include different ports, hinges, and other components that aren’t part of the Air design.

By patenting the overall look of the MacBook Air, Apple left itself open to go after companies that build computers with the Air’s look, without regard for the device’s overall features, ports, connectors, or size.

It’s no surprise that Apple applied for the design patent considering how aggressively the company has worked over the years to protect the look and feel of its products, and it’s likely it will use this new patent at some point to target laptop or netbook makers that are copying the MacBook Air’s design.

[Thanks to The Verge for the heads up.]

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4 Comments

stilep

What design exactly if we arent including hinges and ports—any rectangular clamshells?  These judges just need to take these patent awardings to their logical conclusion and disallow any other company from making notebooks, netbooks, touchscreen phones and tablets at all.

CudaBoy

I don’t think this patent is enforceable as you state it regarding the “wedge” shape, anymore than Ford patenting the ‘64-1/2 Fsstback Mustang shape could be enforceable. It is not a unique design at all - the wedge aspect - it’s too functionally generic IMO. Apple loves litigation so we’ll see.

rjriley5000

Apple will not be able to enforce this patent because a basic rectangle and wedge shape is largely driven by functional issues.  The rectangle is a function of the screen and the wedge is functionally driven by the battery. 

I refuse to buy Apple products because they intentionally limit utility, usually to create a means to gouge customers later.  Their products are crippled by design.

ctopher

Yea, you’re all correct. Apple has the USPTO fooled. There’s no way anyone else gets such an ornamental design patent.

I mean they don’t allow people to actually patent their designs do they?

I mean every shoe has to be foot shaped!

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