Apple awarded patent for wedge laptop design

Two days ago, Apple was awarded a patent for a wedge design by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent is in regards to the company's MacBook Air laptop, which features the wedge design in question.

Apple was awarded patent D661,296 for an "ornamental design for an electronic device, as shown and described" in its patent application. Apple had filed for the patent in October 2010. The full patent award filing, which features design illustrations material to the patent, can be seen here. Little description exists for the patent; the terse description that accompanied the design illustrations was primarily primarily for the sake of clarity:

The gray shading on the electronic device represents a metallic-looking surface.
The relatively light gray shade lines on the surface portions indicate contour and not specific decoration.
The broken lines are are for the purpose of illustrating portions of the electronic device and form no part of the claimed design.

Essentially, what the filing states is that only the general wedge design in combination with a metallic-looking surface is what Apple was claiming to patent. No information on the design's dimensions, how it is built or what differentiates it from similar designs, such as the MacBook Air's unibody case, are part of the patent. While the design illustrations provided in the patent clearly show a MacBook Air, the patent is clearly broad enough that it can be applied to any and all laptops with a wedge design similar to the MacBook Air.

The patent has a 14 year limitation, meaning other notebook manufacturers won't be allowed to use a similar design until June 5, 2026. Numerous ultrabooks currently feature a design with a similar style. With the patent, Apple can now attempt to halt other manufacturers from selling or releasing any current or future devices featuring a similar design.

Source: CNET News

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Windows RT shown running on Texas Instruments-based tablet

Next Story

Could the W3C stop IE 10's Do Not Track plans?

26 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I don't see a problem here. Weren't Apple the first ones to really profit off making a nice wedge design? And make it known to the public that such laptops were available (if so?). Cause then I'd rather they patent their creations because I want to see different designs. After Apple 'revolutionized the laptop' industry, so many laptops have just tried to copy the MacBook design. Apple may be the only company trying to push for more innovation? (too much?)

Shouldn't this be a registered design? and not a Patent?

Following this logic, Pentel could probably patent the shape of their correction fluid bottles.

SoCalRox said,
Please note, I have patented the sofa. I haz all your monees.
I patented the patent. I now haz all your monees.

So I have an HP ProBook that has aluminum casing, is wedged, and is grey metal brushed, so Apple says they developed this?

Ultrabooks are thin and sleek but I wouldn't class them as "wedge-shaped". Hopefully Apple hasn't disrupted too many plans,

the patent does not show or describe it as a laptop , the hinge mechanism is not part of the patent . It also does not show device opened as a laptop.

Our patent system is flawed. Giving patents to bullies & overpriced junk is going to the lowest of lowes. Patents should be abolished and banned.

I would have to give Apple 50/50 on this case with the MacBook Air. There were other companies before that though that had a similiar design, all these Ultrabooks inspired by Intel? Who is Intel kidding by saying they inspired Ultrabooks.

SPEhosting said,
here we go those apple idiots are going to try and control the market again by sueing everyone .... cause they cannot win on their own

Kinda like microsoft did in the 90's until it became a monopoly?

SPEhosting said,
here we go those apple idiots are going to try and control the market again by sueing everyone .... cause they cannot win on their own

Idiots? It's genius

richardsim7 said,

Idiots? It's genius

so your saying being idiots and not being able to create a product that is better then everyone else's and so kick up a fuss in courts is genius ? sounds like 5 year olds smashing each others toys because they dont want to share

richardsim7 said,

Idiots? It's genius

Nah, idiots. They're scared that someone will make something of similar shape and lose out because their stuff is overpriced. With the exception of a couple of products, Apple is way overpriced.

SPEhosting said,

so your saying being idiots and not being able to create a product that is better then everyone else's and so kick up a fuss in courts is genius ? sounds like 5 year olds smashing each others toys because they dont want to share

Not when there's prior art and they were first to get a patent, but didn't actually create something new.

I predict that there will be calls for major reform to America's ridiculous patent system, long before this latest this latest attempt to stifle innovation expires.

So Apple is now claming that they invented "The iAngle" - a revolutionary new innovation that has evaded the human brain since the dawn of time.

With the patent, Apple can now attempt to halt other manufacturers from selling or releasing any current or future devices featuring a similar design.

Of course, if they do that, then any laptop with a wedge shape made before 2011, and that is made of grey metal, per the patent, would invalidate apple's patent.

This patent is only as good as it isn't challenged, which means it's only as good as long as Apple doesn't enforce it. Which makes it useless.