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Apple receives broad patent on MacBook Air wedge design

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#31 Javik

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 18:22

Patents are nothing more than a great way for businesses to make money off of generic ideas at the cost of consumer freedom. Not only should patent offices give more consideration to whether the company actually invented the idea they're claiming ownership over they really need to just stop granting generic patents.


#32 CJEric

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 18:49

As far as I can tell, the patent is specifically about the inside lines that you see from the side that define the wedge shape. In that regard, I don't even see where the pictures of other laptops posted in this thread are relevant at all, since they don't have these lines and look nothing like the latest Macbook Air in that regard.

And despite the fact that the patent still seems a bit ridiculous, I frankly don't see why this specific design would be the only way to build an 'ultrabook'.

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#33 OP Boz

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:01

And despite the fact that the patent still seems a bit ridiculous, I frankly don't see why this specific design would be the only way to build an 'ultrabook'.


Because, the wedge design allows the laptop to be at it's thinnest. Previous the touchpad technology and circiut boards really weren't as advanced to make it as thin. As technology advanced, the wedge design made more and more sense because it make the laptop super thin on the narrowest side where you don't have much electronics or the ones that are required are now miniaturized to an extent that it's very thin. As you go towards the screen, the laptop has to be a bit thicker in order to have the hard drive, motherboards and all that other stuff that's crammed in there.

This is why wedge design is desirable, it makes a laptop as thin as possible. If you made the laptop straight you have to make it align making it unnecessary thick on the other end closer to you. This is why you will see many laptops (including Sony ones) who tried wedge design 8-10 years ago just because of this reason. It's the most effective way to try to keep the laptop thin.

This is all common sense and allowing Apple to patent wedge design is absolutely absurd and destructive to the whole industry. Again, patent office is ripe for corruption investigation or at least to fire every single one of these people who approve patents like this.

These patents are approved to Apple by those working at patents office most likely for 2 reasons. Those people are either fans of Apple and share disconnected opinion that Apple really invented this and money that Apple pays them. This is the same office who raised a shrine to Steve Jobs. Is anyone really surprised here that disaster for the whole tech industry through broad patents like this that affects consumer choice as well is allowed?

#34 CJEric

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:19

allowing Apple to patent wedge design is absolutely absurd and destructive to the whole industry

I don't believe (or at least don't hope) that the patent covers the general concept of a laptop being thin at the front and growing thicker towards the back. If that was or is indeed the case, I'd of course agree with you. But again, the old Macbook Air was practically as thin as the new one yet didn't have the distinct form of a wedge viewed from the side (even though it was still super thin at the front and grew thicker towards the back). I don't think the old Macbook Air design would be covered by this patent.

In any case: Yes the patent is kind of ridiculous (as are most patents nowadays it seems). On the other hand, there are laptops out there that are obvious and shameless Macbook Air clones, which...I don't know...doesn't seem like the proper thing for a company to do either.

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#35 +techbeck

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:21

I think the other companies should try different designs then, why try to mimic what Apple has done?


What? Apple is crapping roses and is innocent in everything? Apple has copied just as much as other companies have. So the same question you posed can be asked towards Apple as well.

#36 OP Boz

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:23

On the other hand, there are laptops out there that are obvious and shameless Macbook Air clones, which...I don't know...doesn't seem like the proper thing for a company to do either.


Okay.. but that's the thing.. what exactly makes them clones? The fact they are using similar materials (aluminum and not plastic)? The fact that it's super thin? The fact that it's wedged shaped to make it as thin as possible in the front? What exactly makes them Mac Book Air clones? None of that is patentable.

The only reason Apple released Mac Book Air in this form is because they have agreements from the same manufacturers to first buy technology and materials for their devices. Just because you were able to build a laptop certain way (that's not really that original to begin with just super thin because the technology has matured so much) so it's thin doesn't make you inventor or prevents others from using the same technology and way of building the laptop.

Companies have been building similar or same looking laptops for a long time. This was never an issue exactly because it was such common sense and the companies were using the technology advancements to build laptops in that form.

#37 CJEric

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:32

Okay.. but that's the thing.. what exactly makes them clones?


There's probably no easy general answer to that. You kind of know it when you see it. Would you not agree that this is a MB Air clone, for example? It certainly doesn't seem like an original design to me.

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#38 Stetson

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:36

"A laptop that is thicker on one end and thinner on another end" and a specific design shape are two different things.

As far as I can tell this patent doesn't cover laptops that follow a general wedge shape (like the 2008 Macbook Air). It looks to me like it's about the specific side lines of the 2010 Macbook Air.

#39 OP Boz

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:41

"A laptop that is thicker on one end and thinner on another end" and a specific design shape are two different things.

As far as I can tell this patent doesn't cover laptops that follow a general wedge shape (like the 2008 Macbook Air). It looks to me like it's about the specific side lines of the 2010 Macbook Air.


No, it specifically targets the wedge shape here:

Posted Image


and in addition, it also covers that having rubber feet is infringement but let's not even get started on that.


from Verge:

covering only the bottom feet of the device, the 'D296 patent is much different. This patent is clearly intended to broadly cover the distinctive wedge or teardrop profile of the notebook.



#40 Manish

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:41

If anyone bothered to read the actual patent, it'd be easy to see that while it is admittedly broader than their previous design patents, Apple hasn't actually claimed the wedge design as their invention. Neither have they been granted such a patent. The word "wedge" doesn't even come up in the document.

To violate this particular patent, the exact proportions, contours and corner radius would have to be slavishly copied. There is also no prior art with these exact specifications and dimensions. In particular, the image of the Sony Vaio X505 has been brandished as if it invalidates the patent; it doesn't. In fact, Apple specifically cites this product in their patent application.

But let's all continue the brouhaha anyway.

#41 OP Boz

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:42

If anyone bothered to read the actual patent, it'd be easy to see that while it is admittedly broader than their previous design patents, Apple hasn't actually claimed the wedge design as their invention. Neither have they been granted such a patent. The word "wedge" doesn't even come up in the document.

To violate this particular patent, the exact proportions, contours and corner radius would have to be slavishly copied. There is also no prior art with these exact specifications and dimensions. In particular, the image of the Sony Vaio X505 has been brandished as if it invalidates the patent; it doesn't. In fact, Apple specifically cites this product in their patent application.

But let's all continue the brouhaha anyway.


No.. it specifically targets the wedge shape profile of the Mac Book Air among other things that are equally asinine.

#42 Manish

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:47

No.. it specifically targets the wedge shape profile of the Mac Book Air among other things that are equally asinine.


Regurgitating the words of Matt Macari from The Verge does not substantiate your claim(s). Carry on though. As always, your comments are a source of mild amusement.

#43 Hell-In-A-Handbasket

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:47

No.. it specifically targets the wedge shape profile of the Mac Book Air among other things that are equally asinine.


Read above, it's even got a pretty picture that goes along with the post. The patent is to stop that, literally put one of the apple stickers on it and people will think its legit.

#44 Stetson

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:53

No.. it specifically targets the wedge shape profile of the Mac Book Air among other things that are equally asinine.


I believe we've had similar debates before in regards to patents Boz.

Including a picture of something that is a wedge shape does not mean that they are patenting all wedge shaped laptops.

They are patenting that specific wedge design. Not wedge designs in general. That's the reason they include pictures of the exact profile lines of the Macbook Air, rather than something more generic.

It is not a patent for "Any notebook computer that has a greater thickness at the back than at the front."

#45 OP Boz

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 19:58

I believe we've had similar debates before in regards to patents Boz.

Including a picture of something that is a wedge shape does not mean that they are patenting all wedge shaped laptops.

They are patenting that specific wedge design. Not wedge designs in general. That's the reason they include pictures of the exact profile lines of the Macbook Air, rather than something more generic.

It is not a patent for "Any notebook computer that has a greater thickness at the back than at the front."


What specific wedge design? This patent is so broad that it does cover a huge number of cases for wedge design. It shouldn't have been granted at all.



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