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 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.]