Apple has been sued by a Colorado man who believes the Cupertino company’s magnetic Smart Cover violates his 2005 patent for a “Portable Computer Case.” Jerald Bovino has filed a lawsuit in a federal court demanding royalties from both Apple and retailer Target for using his technology.
Bovino’s patent (6,977,809) describes an “integral case” that attaches to a computer in much the same way a Smart Cover attaches to an iPad. It is designed to “protect the portable computer from wear and tear encountered when transporting and/or using the portable computer.”
Bovino’s design also incorporates a retractable strap for easy transportation, and “a plurality of resilient ribs positioned on said exterior surface of said case wherein said resilient ribs protects said computer from wear and tear during the transporting and use of the computer.”
It’s those “ribs” that Apple’s Smart Cover allegedly infringes, according to Bovino’s complaint:
Such acts of infringement include, but are not limited to, Defendant Target’s use, sale, offering for sale and/or manufacturing of the Apple gear and iPad Smart Covers for the New iPad and the iPad 2, which covers have an infringing patented “rib”.
The patent was issued six years before Apple’s Smart Cover came along, but whether or not it will be enough to beat the Cupertino company in the courtroom remains to be seen.