Apple patent app for doubleshot casing would cover Microsoft’s Zune

Apple’s United States Patent Application #20070048470, filed on August 16, 2005, “Housing of an electronic device formed by doubleshot injection molding,” was published yesterday.

The patent abstract describes a two shot injection process for forming an enclosure for an electronic device. The two shot injection process allows for a thinner walled enclosure that uses less materials and allows for added structural features that would not be possible using traditional molding techniques. The two shot injection process generally includes forming one or more walls of an enclosure with a first shot and thereafter forming the remaining walls of the enclosure with a second shot. During the second shot, the walls fuse together thereby forming an integrally molded enclosure that is one piece.

Apple’s iPod casing has long used such a technique: originally clear over white and subsequently clear over black and other colors. Taste-challenged Microsoft’s Zune currently features a fecal brown over puke green scheme, among other less stomach-turning color choices.

More via U.S. Patent and Trademark Office here.
If granted, Microsoft would probably have to retroactively license their Zune casing technique from the Cupertino-based iPod-maker, Apple stands to make tens of dollars.

[UPDATED:5:10pm EST: Corrected patent app, not yet granted.]

Related articles:
How To Sell a Microsoft Zune: Offer Free Apple iTunes Gift Card with Purchase – February 08, 2007
Buh-bye: Senior Zune exec exits Microsoft – January 31, 2007
Report: Microsoft Zune screens cracking from overheating battery pressure – January 31, 2007
Last quarter: Microsoft lost $289 million on Zune, CE devices – January 26, 2007
RealMoney’s Comeau predicts: ‘Microsoft will kill the first Zune media player by midyear’ – December 16, 2006
Desperation time? Microsoft Zune already being discounted by retailers – December 13, 2006
Microsoft Zune plummets to 5th place in U.S. digital media player market share with 2.1 percent – December 04, 2006
Analysts: Microsoft needs to ‘rethink’ as interest in Zune fades fast – December 01, 2006
Microsoft’s Steve Jobs-wannabe J Allard has 9 iPods and uses an Apple Mac – November 28, 2006
Amazon’s bestselling MP3 players list chronicles Microsoft Zune dud – November 20, 2006

46 Comments

  1. This process allows Apple to design cases that consume less (environmentally polluting) plastic. On an individual basis it isn’t much, but expand the savings over hundreds of thousands of iPods and the savings is significant. At the end of the iPod’s life, it also translates into less plastic to recycle or dispose. Interesting how the ‘experts’ at Greenpeace chose to ignore this during all of their grandstanding not too long ago.

  2. While it might be emotionally satisfying to sue Microsoft for patent infringement (assuming this patent isn’t covered by existing agreements) Apple still relies on product from Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit to make its case for interoperability, especially Mac Office 2004, Remote Desktop Connection and Windows Media Player. I’ll leave it to Apple to choose its battles.

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