Uh Oh Ultrabook Fans, Apple Snags Broad Patent for MacBook Air Wedge Design

67

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

JustCofox

If memory serves Sony had the wedge shape in there laptop models over 6 years ago and the overall design is remarkably similar to all other laptop. I thought patients were meant to protect unique ideas that had to potential to generate money for the inventor.

PS: I think there is an error in the story. Instead of "...Apple, a company that thrives on form just as much as it does on function.."

it should be "...Apple, a company that thrives on form over function..."

avatar

Engelsstaub

That Sony had a wedge-shaped laptop before the MBA is admittedly interesting. I wasn't aware of it. The one awarding the patent should have been.

(The form-over-function comment was a bit obnoxious :P My Mac functions just fine for the work in which I use it for. My PC works fine for the other things I use it for. Both of them "look pretty cool" if one cares about aesthetics.)

avatar

bling581

Just one more addition to the long list of reasons why the patent system is junk and needs to be reworked. I can't believe they're allowed to patent the shape of something or the way it looks.

This is just a guess, but I'm thinking the wedge shape comes from the idea of making it as slim as possible, but having a minimum height at the back for your I/O ports. Thus you get a wedge shape as it tapers off towards the front. This is not really an asthetic design, but more functional so I don't think they should be allowed to patent it.

On top of it all Apple seems to be the biggest patent troll over the smallest things such as the shape of the device or the fact that the icons or shortcuts are layed out in a grid. Unreal!

avatar

ultrapain

The US Patent Office - just another fine example of the "geniuses" at the US Government being hard at work. Because it would just be ridiculous for the government to thing for themselves and say "sorry, this isn't a fair patent".

avatar

Penterax

I have to agree, this is going too far.

Personally, I could care less whether my portable device looks like a wedge from the side or not, and making a big deal out of it is making a big deal out of nothing for me as a potential customer.

;)

avatar

bling581

When I look at a wedge shaped ultra book I am immediately reminded of how much it looks like a MacBook Air!

Seriously though, just one more point on why these patents are all about driving out competition. Just find a common feature that everyone uses and grab a patent on it.

avatar

PCLinuxguy

This is why I am an Apple Hater. They aren't satisfied shafting customers with high prices for mediocre product,but they have to patent everything that competes in order to flood the market

avatar

Penterax

I'm not an Apple fan either, but their notebooks do have some features that still put them at the top in some ways. I'm mostly thinking screen quality here - notebook screens tend to be terrible, and the Apple products tend to be better.

Their new Macbook Pro with the Retina display is a very sweet 2880x1800 device that no one else touches so far. On top of being a sweet screen, it's 16:10, not the ridiculous 16:9. Frankly on a 15" screen or smaller, I think 4:3 is best, but 16:10 is quite livable, and my favorite screen dimension in larger monitors. (Those of you that think 16:10 is dead should stop looking at $99 monitors - cheap was the ONLY reason 16:9 ever got put behind a keyboard.) I haven't lusted for an Apple device since the Lisa, but this latest Macbook Pro tempts me to actually buy an Apple product.

;)

avatar

guz789

my roomate's aunt makes $83/hr on the laptop. She has been without work for 8 months but last month her pay was $8682 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site...NuttyRich.com

avatar

Wily_One

When will this patent madness end? This would be like Goodyear patenting the shape of tires as being round.

I can't fathom how the U.S. PTO can really be stupid enough to approve these bogus filings.

avatar

bling581

"I can't fathom how the U.S. PTO can really be stupid enough to approve these bogus filings."

My guess is money. They no doubt charge for filing for or obtaining a patent, so why put a limit on what can be done? It's the same as everything else, it's all about $$$.

avatar

dstevens

Based on this, if Ford was to patent the physical charecteristics of a four wheeled vehicle then no other car company could make cars or trucks or anything that looks similar?

Apple is so stupid... didn't they get banned from suing other companies for frivolous shit?

avatar

Darlingtons sol...

Patents and design rights is an incredibly technical area, with increasing numbers of disputes between the leviathans of the software and hardware world.

For legal advice on IP law visit us at http://www.darlingtons.com.

avatar

niuccs

http://115.co/9d
hello everyone
if you like to order anything you like.
More details,
please just browse our website Quality is our Dignity;
Service is our Lift.
enjoy yourself.
thank you!!
http://115.co/9d

avatar

Mayhemm

I admit, I don't understand Apple's indignation here....

They are hardly the first company this has happened to. Look at anything else. A TV looks like a TV. A refrigerator looks like a refrigerator.

I drive an Audi. Lately they've become known for their distinctive string of LEDs under the headlamps, which are used for daytime running lights. This was an attractive design feature and people took notice. Now, every car maker from KIA to Lexus has a string of LEDs under their headlamps. When something becomes popular, it is imitated. Get over it, Apple. Go count your money and leave us alone.

avatar

Slurpy

"I drive an Audi. Lately they've become known for their distinctive string of LEDs under the headlamps, which are used for daytime running lights. This was an attractive design feature and people took notice."

Some people think it's an attractive design feature. I am not the only person to think it's the ugliest thing to happen to cars since the Aztek. Different strokes, though.

avatar

acidic

anyone with common sense dealing with technology knows that apple hasn't invented a single thing. they only take ideas/products from others and rub them with magic pixie dust and sell them as a perfect, brand new, inovating life changing thing. it's too bad that this "patent" has already been pretty much invalidated

http://www.dailytech.com/Virtually+Every+Ultrabook+Appears+to+Violate+New+Apple+Patent/article24886.htm

avatar

The Corrupted One

I have put in a patent for patent sharking.

Now to go sue Apple for 1 millio- I mean Billion dollars...

avatar

Havok

It's pretty crappy of them to do it, but hey, no-one else jumped on that bandwagon. They filed first, they get the patent. Dur.

avatar

gatorXXX

There shouldn't be a patent on shapes. If that is the case though, I'm going to patent a certain shape of poop and sue Tim Cook everytime he sits on a shitter.....

avatar

Scatter

Its not just a shape that's being patented as much as its a design. I know that there are many apple haters around here but the facts are facts; people copy the look and designs of apple products once Apple makes something popular. I see nothing wrong with Apple wanting to patent their designs.

avatar

bling581

Because there's nothing special about their so called "designs". Before you know it they will patent the rectangle shape for smart phones and everyone will have to change. It's just ridiculousness.

Let's take a super generic term "App Store" and patent it because everyone else is using it. Just one example of many lame attempts by Apple to patent basic generic things so they can put competition at a disadvantage and ban their devices.

avatar

Engelsstaub

If their was nothing special about the designs, ultrabook manufacturers wouldn't seek to emulate them. It doesn't matter if you like the designs or not.

Who else was using the term App Store? Just Amazon? They can come up with a different name pretty easily. I mean it is an Amazon "Marketplace." Do you think Microsoft would just roll out a video-editing program and call it Final Cut? You know this has been going on for far longer than Apple's existence. Nobody can use the term "Lite" on beer cans but Miller. Everyone else has to use "light." It's Miller's gimmick. About a hundred other non-Apple examples are coming to mind right now.

avatar

The Corrupted One

Amen.

avatar

timmyw

As much as I would love to join in on the Apple bashing and generally loathing of the U.S. Patent system, there is a big difference between a design patent and a utility patent (what most people think of as a 'patent.')

An example of a design patent is the shape of the Coca-Cola bottle. Pepsi can't make a bottle shaped like a Coke bottle but they still can make Pepsi in bottles.

avatar

Engelsstaub

You're right, but why bother? It's about Apple and it's time to roll out the nerdrage... "I'm gonna patent the circle! Tim Cook's turds! Blah, blah, blah." Adolescent fanboi-indignation trumps common sense.

avatar

acidic

nice to see you back still crying a big shit storm over apple. i bet you have been trying to get into their new fragrance lab and get your grubby hands on their new scent. although it's not available for sale, i'm sure you'll work something out with your new messiah. also, i can't wait till the "iTV' is released this year and apple gets the shit smacked out of them in the UK by the real ITV. we all know that the normal huge apple bribes will take effect and they will win. ITV has only been out since around the time lord jobs was born and i'm sure he patented the letter "i" back then along with the rectangular shape that plays sounds and displays images in a home enviroment

avatar

Engelsstaub

"i bet you have been trying to get into their new fragrance lab and get your grubby hands on their new scent. although it's not available for sale, i'm sure you'll work something out with your new messiah"

...come back in ten years and read this crap you type. You talk about having a family but sound like a disturbed prepubescent kid off his meds.

For the love of life just move on. Look at the shit you write and then look at the stuff everyone else here writes. Can you see the vast difference? I've resolved to never again dignify your bullshit with any response. Keep typing your maniacal stupidity as exemplified by that little fragment I quoted.

avatar

Hey.That_Dude

Intel's going to stop selling them processors because Apple will destroy the Ultrabook market... after all a $300 mil advert. budget + 50% off proc investment in a market is a lot of money. I wonder if AMD will sell them theirs after all that goes down?

avatar

nedwards

If someone buys a MacBook Air instead of a Zenbook, they're buying an Intel CPU either way, so why should Intel care? 

avatar

Hey.That_Dude

BECAUSE of the amount of money involved!
You're Intel rocking along and making ~200k procs/ quarter for Apple. Then you decide to get the PC companies in on the market segment by ramping production and selling in bulk at a discount. Throw in all the marketing costs that it's funneled in to get the hype up the "apple fanatic" levels and that's a HUGE investment in this Ultrabook catagory.
Now when Apple starts sueing all the companies that buy in bulk your new procs over the design of the shell it's in... those companies stop selling as many, no more purchases from intel, they have to ramp down production, i.e. BAD news for intel.
Or Intel can stop selling to Apple and lose a small market segment, Apple can't sue as easily over a design patent it's not using (read they can't sue for damages).

avatar

Engelsstaub

Relative to your first comment: I think Apple SHOULD destroy the Ultrabook market...if they (like HP) can't design a slim notebook that doesn't purposely rip off the MBA or MBP's design. HP is one of the most egregious examples of slavish copying. Yet Apple hasn't sued them (yet?) I believe they'd have a clear case if they did.

The fact that the "Ultrabook market" would be non-existent had Apple not led the way is admittedly moot. (The original MacBook Airs were an overpriced joke. Apple came a long way in perfecting that product IMO.) Nobody's saying that PC makers shouldn't be crafting similar machines. They just shouldn't look nearly identical to a MBA. ...and that's why they finally patented the design.

For having such a "low marketshare" they sure seem to get nut-ridden a lot.

avatar

sundropdrinker3

There are only so many ways that you can design a fucking case, especially in a laptop. Get over your douche-baggery already, and get with reality. Damn, the stupidity of some people.

avatar

Scatter

That's very closed minded.

There were plenty of laptops out there before Apple's design and they all had cases.

A previous posted made a great comparison; The coke bottle is a unique bottle design that was patented to protect their unique look. Of course it didn't stop other companies from butting fluids in bottles.

avatar

Engelsstaub

Did you even LOOK at the diagram?

I presented an argument. You come back with insults. I guess you win. I'm a douche bag.

avatar

acidic

no shit. i've been telling you that for a year now. you're just another brain dead, cracked out, cool-aid drinking, hipster that can't get out of the non-existent, apple-centric, glorious utopia that dead ass jobs "created" just like he and is company "created" everything electronic that we all know of. i guess you didn't read the article i posted due to it basically invalidating yet another apple "patent" with prior art. i should have know. you can't see past the faux reality just like jobs or cook. hopefully if you get your hands on their fragrance which is supposed to smell like that new apple smell, (cardboard and packing peanuts), it can cover the smell of all the bullshit you talk

avatar

vig1lant3

I'm patenting the circle. Ha ha! All your pizzas & tires belong to me!!

avatar

$m

Or rather, all your pizzas & tires are belong to us.

avatar

winmaster

I was just awarded a patent on double posting. You're fucked now.

avatar

winmaster

I was just awarded a patent on double posting. You're fucked now.

avatar

ApathyCurve

I have a pre-existing patent on the circle. Have your lawyers call my lawyers; we'll do lunch.

avatar

vig1lant3

I'm patenting the circle. Ha ha! All your pizzas & tires belong to me!!

avatar

jgrimoldy

It's precisely this type of douchebaggery that trumps any interest in ever owning an Apple product.

How the heck do you patent a simple shape like that? Could IBM have patented the AT/XT style of case? Can Foster Farms patent the shape of an egg?

avatar

big_montana

IF shapes were patentable then ever car, appliance and electronics company would be in court constantly suing each other over esthetics, as that is all it is. If this ever makes it to court, the judge needs to revisit the Intel vs AMd and Cyrix lawsuit of well over a decade ago when all AMD and Cyrix were making were clones of Intel processors and using the Intel names, 286, 386, 486 and the judge dismissed it stating that a number cannot be patented, so hopefully we see some sanity regarding shapes.

avatar

Scatter

Because the Volkswagon looks like a Corvette right? And the Mustang looks just like a Honda Civic?

If Ford came out with a new car that looked just like a Corvette they'd be sued for it.

avatar

Engelsstaub

I've read comments from all of you people before. I know you're not this dense...it only infuriates you because it's Apple.

What's the numbers on Ultrabook sales? The MBA shits all over all of them. Period.

If they look like the MBA they should get sued by the designer of the MBA. Plain and simple.

The REAL problem is that some manufacturers know they can't sell their rip-off crap, so they go out of their way to make it look as identical as possible to a MBA so they can get some extra sales and hopefully break even.

You big Ultrabook-fans, readers of MPC, want your underpowered laptops to look just like a product by that company you hate so much? Seriously?? (ONE comment on Paul's article that preceded this about a "Maximum PC" laptop...one that could do the sort of shit power-users expect...Good God.)

avatar

aarcane

The problem isn't that the systems look like apple products. The problem is that apple is patenting yet another obvious idea. Remember when they patented a vaguely rectangular shape with buttons on the front? you know, EVERY non-flip, non-slider phone?

well now they've effectively patented "A case that's only as thick as it needs to be to hold the components that need to be where they are". You know, a concept that has been in effect for ages? They just now have smaller parts that can result in thinner cases. The point of this post is that just like many of their other patent issues, there's no merit to this one either.

avatar

Engelsstaub

I disagree--this is not the same as the iPad "patent."

If you look at the diagram it clearly shows the wedge-shape that was the signature of 2nd gen+ of Apple-designed MBAs (that big-seller that created this whole supposed need for "ultrabooks.")

It's their design. Ultrabook manufacturers can continue to create products that don't intentionally and obviously look like MBAs. They didn't even mention any of the other features that most of these ultrabook manufacturers are aping.

Regarding the "patent" for the iPad: I agree completely. IMO Apple was quite overreaching in that attempt. They were certainly not the first to make a tablet, but nobody cared about one until they did. Not a thing wrong with that either. If the other me-too tablet manufacturers were making tablets that (as obviously as this diagram) looked like their iPad, it would be a problem. (I didn't see any huge resemblance.)

My only personal criticism of Apple is why they didn't apply for this patent sooner. There's already more than one ultrabook on the market ripping off the wedge design. Maybe a judge should have just said "too late."

avatar

SeverianSilk

"You big Ultrabook-fans, readers of MPC, want your underpowered laptops... [snip]"

I love to quote ignorance.

avatar

Engelsstaub

"I love to quote ignorance." ...in fragment, to purposely "overlook" the irony I intended to convey in context.

...and contribute nothing to the discussion.

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.