Ultrabook-makers beware: Apple now owns broad patent on MacBook Air wedge design

“It’s been pretty easy to look at recent Apple design patents and see that they haven’t carried with them the broad patent coverage many might think, but that isn’t the case with Apple’s new US patent — D661,296 — that issued on Tuesday,” Matt Macari reports for The Verge. “This patent is clearly intended to broadly cover the distinctive wedge or teardrop profile of the notebook.”

“In determining infringement, courts look at whether the allegedly infringing device and the design patent are substantially similar in overall appearance to an ‘ordinary observer,’ excluding minor differences,” Macari reports. Apple “focuses on the overall wedge shape and look of the device… That’s the aesthetic Apple has patented here and a notebook with hinges, feet or a shaped back different than the MacBook Air could still be infringing as long as the rest — primarily the claimed wedge profile — is substantially similar.”

Macari reports, “While there are certainly going to be some noticeable differences between Apple’s design and other notebooks in the market, let’s not forget how aggressively Apple has used its design patents against competitors in the smartphone and tablet space. And given just how much we’re starting to see this wedge look in ultrabooks like HP’s Envy Spectre and the Asus Zenbook we certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Apple decided to wave its new patent around a bit.”

Read more, and see Apple’s patented design drawings, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Careful now, MacBook Air wannabes.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ellis D.” for the heads up.]

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The PC market’s last, best hope: Apple MacBook Air wannabes – May 14, 2012
HP ‘designer’ on HP’s MacBook Air clone: ‘Apple may like to think they own silver, but they don’t’ – May 9, 2012
Apple to release $799 MacBook Air in 3Q12, sources say – May 7, 2012
Dell’s new XPS 13 ‘ultrabook’ not in same league as Apple’s vastly superior MacBook Air – March 14, 2012
JP Morgan: Windows PC ‘ultrabooks’ just Apple MacBook Air wannabes – February 14, 2012
Apple issues ultimatum to Pegatron over ASUS MacBook Air knockoffs: Us or them, take your pick – February 13, 2012
Ready to rumble: Apple’s MacBook Air upgrade looms – January 16, 2012


    1. When a design is chosen by Apple they should immediately file for the design patent. Meanwhile, Engineers use the blue prints and Cad models and prototypes are built; all the blame/pressure is on then on the Approval Patent Time for the design. Oh – that is how it works ????
      LOL, is it world wide and checked who made it through all the channels first? Really… OH woowwow i see – and so do you tboner.

    2. MacBook Air is is far more than a basic shape.
      It is a “clean, tight, neatly engineered package” housing sophisticated electronics and branded as Apple.

    1. I have to agree. Of course Apple must patent their IP, but with the courts the way that they are, by the time 2,3,4,5 years of trial finish, even “IF” Apple wins an injunction the damage is already done. I always chuckle when I see the pictures of phones from Apple first and then Samsungs. Its rather obvious. There should be a court somewhere with experts to decide patent infringement in 180 days. Six months is plenty to me when something is blatantly obvious.

    1. Notebook computers are virtually indistinguishable too. But that’s because Apple invested the time and energy to invent the best form factor (full-size screen hinged at the back, keyboard towards the back with left and right palm rests and a pointing device between them). After that, everyone copied them for two decades — and counting.

    1. If the shape was ordinary and not as unique as you’re proposing, then why are other companies copying the MacBook Air? Why not stay with the ordinary?

      1. According to my knowledge, the word Golden was impossibly spoken or spelt as you claim. The word that references closest to Golden was Asian predating 1000 BCE meaning the rising sun (4 Chinese Characters). Latin and your ‘EngRish’ were not yet spoken… so you have no ownership to the word, GOLDEN as claimed.

        1. I had too much math as I was growing up. The golden rectangle is defined, with sides A and B, A is to B as B is to A+B.
          Its a quadratic equation. If A=1, B=1.6180339…
          If B=1, A=0.6180339… Its called by the greek letter PHI

  1. Leaked Excerpt (SSHQ, 2008): Looks so thin, like paper, no, like air! But substantial at the rear.  The lid opens with one finger, the weight perfectly in balance, what does this mean?  Careful Yoon, the cable! Wow, magnetic power connectors, OMG!!! I see the light, this is too much, single mould micro hole injection! Oooo, auto backlit keyboard! And so quiet! Oh wait double tap! Double touch! No, multi touch – all the way!  I cant take anymore, what does this mean?!? OMG OMG! Kim, fetch R&D from the fields, we have work to do!

  2. In other news, Google announced an exact replica of the MacBook Air to be given away in exchange for a lifetime personal privacy waiver and your eternal soul.

    Judge Posner said he had no problem with the Google/Samsung joint effort.

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