One of my favorite lines used by people defending Samsung during their $1 billion legal beatdown from Apple was the claim that Apple doesn’t have a patent on glass rectangles with rounded corners. “You can’t patent the rectangle,” they would say.
Yeah, well Apple just did. Kind of.
After a review by a patent examiner on Tuesday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded Apple an additional design patent for the iPad’s “ornamental design.” The design feature cited in US Patent D607,286 for a “Portable display device” pretty much appears to be a literal rounded rectangle.
As reported by Chris Foresman at Ars Technica, it’s unclear whether this new patent actually gives Apple extra ammunition for legal battles against nefarious ripoff artist Samsung. Apple already had a design patent that it used in its U.S. trial against Samsung that includes some of the same features. Judge Koh ruled that Samsung did infringe on Apple’s D504,889 patent which was based off a iPad prototype from 2004.
Even though Apple has patented the ornamental design of the iPad with it’s flat glass surface, rectangular body, and rounded corners, other companies have already moved away from copying the iPad’s design, so the new patent probably doesn’t give Apple any new legal advantages right now.
Source: Ars Technica.