Adding to the series of patent wars here and there, Apple, dubbed by some as the “patent troll”, has received another patent, this time for the MacBook Air’s teardrop wedge-shaped design. Apple’s new U.S. patent, D661,296, was issued on Tuesday this week. Based on the document, it appears that the new patent is clearly intended to broadly cover the distinctive wedge or teardrop design of the notebook.
The document, however, doesn’t say much about the patent. But the drawings highlight the details of the patent in solid lines. Descriptions like “gray shading on the electronic device represents a metallic-looking surface” and “the relatively light gray shade lines on the surface portions indicate contour and not surface decoration” are among the few written in the document. Apple has reportedly dashed out unimportant details of the notebook and opted to highlight the overall wedge shape with solid lines.
Sources say that in determining infringement, courts will usually look at whether the allegedly infringing device and the design patent are substantially similar in overall appearance. Apple’s new patent could pose a threat to ultrabooks that sport the wedge-shaped design. Competitors, however, can still work their way around minor tweaks in the design to avoid patent infringement, sources say.