The illustration that accompanies a patent application is a first glimpse inside the head of the inventor. Finally, an idea becomes a possibility, and even if an invention later proves to be impractical or an outright failure, the drawing serves as a tangible record of humanity’s quest to solve problems and move forward.
But the modern day patent sketches are stark chicken scratches compared to the intricately detailed, da Vinciesque artworks that once accompanied applications to the United States Patent & Trade Office, which first opened in 1790.
A new Apple patent awarded this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office suggests future MacBooks could be powered by the sun. In its filing for an “Electronic device display module,” which was first submitted back in 2010, Apple describes a notebook with a double-sided display that has photovoltaic cells on its back for solar charging.
Apple’s “pinch to zoom” patent, which features prominently in a patent dispute against Samsung, has been dismissed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. According to documents filed by Samsung in a U.S. federal court, all 21 claims of the patent have been rejected in a “final office action.”
When a company like Apple is getting sued every other week, there’s no telling what they will and won’t try to patent and trademark in an attempt to protect their intellectual property. Apple already holds a patent on rectangles with rounded corners, and their latest trademark gives Apple exclusive use of the word “Retina.”
On December 4, 2012, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple two Registered Trademarks. One trademark covers the word “Retina” while the second trademark covers Apple’s Game Center icon.