Apple’s MacBook Air Patent Could Have Ultrabook’s in its Sights

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11 Aug, 2011 7:01 pm


Today I attended the Intel Ultrabook Press conference where I learned about a 300M fund spuring innovation around the new Ultra portable category.  As I listened I could help but wonder if Apple had patented this category too when they created the Macbook Air.  The new category being pushed by Intel certainly is being touted as the PC version of the Air and holds many features in common.

In case you missed it Apple won a suit against Samsung stopping the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from being sold in Europe.  They succeeded on a  Community Design Patent that would apply to EVERY tablet on the market.  I wrote an article entitled “Actually Looked at Apple’s Patent? They Could Stop ANYONE from building a Tablet!” if you’re unclear how they’re able to go after the whole category.  Apple actually proved me right by promptly going after Motorola and Jay-tech.  So I had a look to see what Apple’s patent on the Air looked as if it might give ASUS trouble when they release the UX21 next month.  Here’s what I found, 3 weeks ago, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, awarded Apple a total of 14 new patents, including patent  D642, 172 which was filed in October of last year.

This patent describes and defines the design of the MacBook Air down to the smallest detail. The trackpad, chassis shaped and its ultra-thin design. Apple has described everything exactly and its been granted the patent!  Could this patent be applied to the up coming Ultrabook category.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not patent expert, but the patent used to get the Galaxy Tab kicked out of Europe seems a lot more general

It has to be pointed out that if Apple is already playing dirty with something less specific you can be sure that they’ll be going after Ultrabook’s too.  If you’re not sure what the Ux21 looks like we’ve got a hands on at Computex this past June.

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The ability for Apple to patent an entire category with tablets is clearly a market play to gain market share while the victimized companies file injunctions and loose sales in the meantime.  The insanility of Apple’s patents isn’t just around tablets, smartphones and notebooks, they’re even heading into the realm of chargers.  Take a look at the D641, 693 patent and tell me that you didn’t own less stylish version of this 30 years ago. Did they win the patent on this classic design because it has rounded corners? Who ever made the world round better watch out or Apple might come after them too!

Via Patently Apple

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  • Anonymous

    Are you writing the article purely for page-hits? Please tell me that the “patent” doesn’t look like every laptop out there. Plus the Macbook Air IS an Ultrabook. It has exactly what the Sandy Bridge Ultrabooks are supposed to have.

  • Jon Garrett

    Not only that but the article states that Apple won a lawsuit to stop the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1  they didn’t “win” a lawsuit, they got a temporary injunction. the case is far from over.