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(The Verge)   Planning to launch an Ultrabook this year? Maybe you should talk to your patent lawyers first   (theverge.com) divider line 136
    More: Asinine, patent attorney, MacBook Air, MacBook, Apple, rocket launch  
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6372 clicks; posted to Business » on 07 Jun 2012 at 10:33 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-07 10:11:44 PM
Gee, you can patent a shape?

I call dibs on circles
 
2012-06-07 10:38:51 PM
Seeing as how every smartphone after the iPhone has ripped off the iPhone shape, not to mention stealing UI concepts in the software itself, Apple is smart to patent these designs.
 
2012-06-07 10:44:21 PM

yellowcat: Gee, you can patent a shape?

I call dibs on circles


You can. It's a design patent. They're not really a patent at all. Something more akin to copyright, but for industrial creations. I don't mean to shock you, but this appears to be a troll headline, on Fark.
 
2012-06-07 10:46:07 PM
Gee, you can patent a shape?

Tandy/Radio Shack still holds a design patent for the clamshell laptop design.
 
2012-06-07 10:48:21 PM
Vendors need to stop copying the shape and start copying the naming system. The Toshiba Portege Z930-S9302 is what exactly? And how is that different than the other 8 models in that series?
 
2012-06-07 10:53:16 PM
I claim a patent on the Nutsack Login Protocol. (NLP)

To get online, you have to put your nuts in this special device. Once biometrically verified as yours, you're in.

If you're cool, nothing happens, but i you act like a dicktard like sometimes happens on fark.com, there's either a 10 kV shock or a 50 psi mechanical crushing force applied. Possibly alternating depending on what you posted.

I figure the whole internet will get a lot cooler once NLP is universally adopted, and there IS a way to dickpunch someone over TCP/IP.
 
2012-06-07 10:53:25 PM

AverageAmericanGuy: Seeing as how every smartphone after the iPhone has ripped off the iPhone shape


What, a rectangle with rounded corners?
Form follows function.
Maybe someone should patent a golf balls with dimples next.
 
2012-06-07 11:01:57 PM

gingerjet: Vendors need to stop copying the shape and start copying the naming system. The Toshiba Portege Z930-S9302 is what exactly? And how is that different than the other 8 models in that series?


I ran into this with Kenmore refrigerators. I saw one that was really cool on a commercial and thought it would be easy to find it on their website. No, they have 36 models of refrigerators! WTF?
 
2012-06-07 11:06:00 PM
There is not a single thing innovative or original in that design. The application should have been tossed out like all of these ridiculous things.
 
2012-06-07 11:08:03 PM

whatshisname: AverageAmericanGuy: Seeing as how every smartphone after the iPhone has ripped off the iPhone shape

What, a rectangle with rounded corners?
Form follows function.


This would be a great argument, if everyone else's designs had involved multitouch screens and no physical keyboards before the iPhone came out... ;)
 
2012-06-07 11:11:25 PM

gingerjet: Vendors need to stop copying the shape and start copying the naming system. The Toshiba Portege Z930-S9302 is what exactly? And how is that different than the other 8 models in that series?


This! Please! I have a 3.5 year old MacBook, and if I went to the Apple Store today and got a MacBook, it would be essentially the same thing. The specs would be pretty decent by current standards, just like the specs of this one were pretty good by late 2008 standards. I have no farking clue what the different models from Toshiba or HP mean. What's the difference between a Dell Inspiron 14R and Inspiron 14z? Both are 14" screens. Both are $499. Apple makes this very easy.
 
2012-06-07 11:14:51 PM

AverageAmericanGuy: Seeing as how every smartphone after the iPhone has ripped off the iPhone shape, not to mention stealing UI concepts in the software itself, Apple is smart to patent these designs.


Right, because the iPhone never ripped off any UI features from Blackberry, Motorola, Palm, nor Nokia... mmmm? Voice command or multitask much? Yeh, I'm sure iPhone didn't rip off any other smartphone there either.
 
2012-06-07 11:15:35 PM

StingerJ: gingerjet: Vendors need to stop copying the shape and start copying the naming system. The Toshiba Portege Z930-S9302 is what exactly? And how is that different than the other 8 models in that series?

This! Please! I have a 3.5 year old MacBook, and if I went to the Apple Store today and got a MacBook, it would be essentially the same thing. The specs would be pretty decent by current standards, just like the specs of this one were pretty good by late 2008 standards. I have no farking clue what the different models from Toshiba or HP mean. What's the difference between a Dell Inspiron 14R and Inspiron 14z? Both are 14" screens. Both are $499. Apple makes this very easy.


Of course, as Apple customers are easily confused. Expecting them read hardware specs, and figuring out which would better suit their use is too much to ask of them.
 
2012-06-07 11:15:44 PM

Maneck: They're not really a patent at all.


Uh, yes, they are "really a patent". I think they're farking stupid, but it's the law. If you make lampshades that look sorta like someone else's patented design, you can be hit with a C&D and sued. Successfully.
 
2012-06-07 11:17:25 PM

StingerJ: gingerjet: Vendors need to stop copying the shape and start copying the naming system. The Toshiba Portege Z930-S9302 is what exactly? And how is that different than the other 8 models in that series?

This! Please! I have a 3.5 year old MacBook, and if I went to the Apple Store today and got a MacBook, it would be essentially the same thing. The specs would be pretty decent by current standards, just like the specs of this one were pretty good by late 2008 standards. I have no farking clue what the different models from Toshiba or HP mean. What's the difference between a Dell Inspiron 14R and Inspiron 14z? Both are 14" screens. Both are $499. Apple makes this very easy.


Not having a choice = easy, I guess.
 
2012-06-07 11:20:32 PM

rustypouch: StingerJ: gingerjet: Vendors need to stop copying the shape and start copying the naming system. The Toshiba Portege Z930-S9302 is what exactly? And how is that different than the other 8 models in that series?

This! Please! I have a 3.5 year old MacBook, and if I went to the Apple Store today and got a MacBook, it would be essentially the same thing. The specs would be pretty decent by current standards, just like the specs of this one were pretty good by late 2008 standards. I have no farking clue what the different models from Toshiba or HP mean. What's the difference between a Dell Inspiron 14R and Inspiron 14z? Both are 14" screens. Both are $499. Apple makes this very easy.

Of course, as Apple customers are easily confused. Expecting them read hardware specs, and figuring out which would better suit their use is too much to ask of them.


2/10. Too stereotypical of a response. The fanboy argument is as played out as Lootie in Photoshop threads.
 
2012-06-07 11:26:17 PM

xaveth: AverageAmericanGuy: Seeing as how every smartphone after the iPhone has ripped off the iPhone shape, not to mention stealing UI concepts in the software itself, Apple is smart to patent these designs.

Right, because the iPhone never ripped off any UI features from Blackberry, Motorola, Palm, nor Nokia... mmmm? Voice command or multitask much? Yeh, I'm sure iPhone didn't rip off any other smartphone there either.


Hell, they blatantly took Android's notification scheme.
 
2012-06-07 11:29:51 PM
How do ornamental design patents hit up against functional design?

In this case my keyboard is a wedge. My last keyboard was a wedge. I can't remember a single keyboard I've ever used that wasn't higher in the rear and shorter in the front, going back to typewriters.

Apple's wedge design for a notebook where the wedge encompasses the keyboard doesn't seem so much like ornamental design but functional design.
 
2012-06-07 11:34:05 PM

gaspode: There is not a single thing innovative or original in that design. The application should have been tossed out like all of these ridiculous things.


Find me a laptop with that specific shape that predates the filing date of the application. Otherwise, yes, it is innovative and original. The burden of proof is on the person opposing the patent.
 
2012-06-07 11:37:48 PM

Maneck: yellowcat: Gee, you can patent a shape?

I call dibs on circles

You can. It's a design patent. They're not really a patent at all. Something more akin to copyright, but for industrial creations. I don't mean to shock you, but this appears to be a troll headline, on Fark.


Yeah. They're sort of in between... They're patents, but they only cover the aesthetic features of the design. Change a feature, and you no longer infringe. They still must be novel and nonobvious, and they only last 14 years from issue.
They're quite handy for protecting a design while you build up consumer brand recognition. For example, Google patented their home page long before they got trade dress rights.
 
2012-06-07 11:39:26 PM
And of course...
wpuploads.appadvice.com
 
2012-06-07 11:41:41 PM
Notthisshiatagain.jpg
 
2012-06-07 11:43:02 PM
Look and feel patents need to be done away with. Period. Patents should be restricted to processes/methods of perform processes and the machines required to preform them and nothing else. No genetic material, no software, no look and feel crap.
 
2012-06-07 11:44:30 PM

AverageAmericanGuy: Apple is smart to patent these designs.


Wrong.
 
2012-06-07 11:46:00 PM

MyRandomName: Hell, they blatantly took Android's notification scheme.


Shhhh. You might upset them.
 
2012-06-07 11:46:28 PM
Bed time for me, I'll check back tomorrow to see who "wins" todays techno holy war.
 
2012-06-07 11:50:01 PM

gingerjet: Vendors need to stop copying the shape and start copying the naming system. The Toshiba Portege Z930-S9302 is what exactly? And how is that different than the other 8 models in that series?


Even Apple has specific numbers to denote the unique hardware config of the model. It's just that no one ever mentions them. But I feel where you're from. I'm a big Asus laptop fan, but the naming process is just nuts. I'd prefer "Asus [whatever]book" as the baseline in a google search to be differentiated only by slight changes in HDD, RAM, etc. That way when you read a review or forum about it, it's an umbrella subject.
 
2012-06-07 11:50:34 PM

AverageAmericanGuy: Seeing as how every smartphone after the iPhone has ripped off the iPhone shape, not to mention stealing UI concepts in the software itself, Apple is smart to patent these designs.


So using prior device concepts with square faces with a display palm is able to sue apple for ripping off their idea right?

There are quite a few laptops on the market now that already infringe on this patent, hell I have a Dell for work that would infringe on it according to the article, these farktards need to stop this shiat and just sue when people obviously rip you off, just because it looks the same doesnt mean people are going to buy it over yours. Unless of course a company realizes they are falling behind and sue to try to keep them within reach.
 
2012-06-07 11:50:39 PM

Mr.Tangent: Bed time for me, I'll check back tomorrow to see who "wins" todays techno holy war.


How about a nice game of chess?
 
2012-06-07 11:53:39 PM

xaveth: Right, because the iPhone never ripped off any UI features from Blackberry, Motorola, Palm, nor Nokia... mmmm? Voice command or multitask much? Yeh, I'm sure iPhone didn't rip off any other smartphone there either.


Palm is the big one they took from, the pilot was a great device at first but then went downhill but people loved those first ones, it was easy to keep all your info handy, why they didnt see the leap first is their fault but lets not act like apple doesnt "borrow" or get influence from somewhere else.
 
2012-06-07 11:53:47 PM

RoyBatty: How do ornamental design patents hit up against functional design?

In this case my keyboard is a wedge. My last keyboard was a wedge. I can't remember a single keyboard I've ever used that wasn't higher in the rear and shorter in the front, going back to typewriters.

Apple's wedge design for a notebook where the wedge encompasses the keyboard doesn't seem so much like ornamental design but functional design.


loa.com.vn
lh4.ggpht.com
limcorp.net
lib.store.yahoo.net
Plenty of other ways to do a non-raked keyboard.

Plus, you're actually shifting the goalposts from a slanted keyboard, to a wedge design overall. Many other laptops are flat:
www.whitegadget.comwww.dancewithshadows.com
while others provide a raked keyboard without a wedge:
www.800hightech.comthecoolgadgets.com
 
2012-06-07 11:56:21 PM

dbirchall: whatshisname: AverageAmericanGuy: Seeing as how every smartphone after the iPhone has ripped off the iPhone shape

What, a rectangle with rounded corners?
Form follows function.

This would be a great argument, if everyone else's designs had involved multitouch screens and no physical keyboards before the iPhone came out... ;)


Multitouch can't be patented. The WORLD itself is multitouch all the way down to quantum level.

Software to enhance touchscreens in souch a way as to reflect this fact of nature shouldn't be pattent worthy.
 
2012-06-07 11:57:11 PM

steamingpile: AverageAmericanGuy: Seeing as how every smartphone after the iPhone has ripped off the iPhone shape, not to mention stealing UI concepts in the software itself, Apple is smart to patent these designs.

So using prior device concepts with square faces with a display palm is able to sue apple for ripping off their idea right?


Can you find an example of a Palm PDA or smart phone that looks so similar to an iPhone as to confuse an ordinary consumer? If so, then yes.

There are quite a few laptops on the market now that already infringe on this patent, hell I have a Dell for work that would infringe on it according to the article, these farktards need to stop this shiat

Agreed. Dell* and Asus shouldn't be putting out Macbook Air clones, particularly when they know a patent application has already been filed.

*I don't know of any Dell laptops that would infringe this... They recently announced one, but I don't believe it's out yet.
 
2012-06-07 11:57:22 PM

steamingpile: AverageAmericanGuy: Seeing as how every smartphone after the iPhone has ripped off the iPhone shape, not to mention stealing UI concepts in the software itself, Apple is smart to patent these designs.

So using prior device concepts with square faces with a display palm is able to sue apple for ripping off their idea right?

There are quite a few laptops on the market now that already infringe on this patent, hell I have a Dell for work that would infringe on it according to the article, these farktards need to stop this shiat and just sue when people obviously rip you off, just because it looks the same doesnt mean people are going to buy it over yours. Unless of course a company realizes they are falling behind and sue to try to keep them within reach.


Here's what I don't get - no one gives a fark that all sedans have the same basic body type and means of input and locomotion. This is basically like idiots in a Buick forum complaining that the tachometer in a '94 Camaro was like, completely copied and sh*t.

So why are so many people butthurt that tech companies 'borrow' each other's designs? It's not like Apple hasn't been guilty of this, too. FOr fark's sake, some of the greatest rock and roll bands in history just took the 1-4-5 and co-opted it for their own use. Aside from the hysteria and fashion, rock and roll is basically just countless copies of itself. For every "My Sweet Lord" lawsuit there are a bajillion songs blatantly 'inspired' by something else. And no one gives a fark.

The whole thing is farking retarded.
 
2012-06-07 11:57:33 PM
Dear Apple,

All Intel boxes are the same, you need to patent colors next.

/yeah, I think they may have done that too
 
2012-06-07 11:58:30 PM

doglover: Multitouch can't be patented. The WORLD itself is multitouch all the way down to quantum level.

Software to enhance touchscreens in souch a way as to reflect this fact of nature shouldn't be pattent worthy.


Movement can't be patented, because the universe is moving... Therefore cars that move people shouldn't be patent worthy?
 
2012-06-07 11:59:24 PM

dickfreckle: So why are so many people butthurt that tech companies 'borrow' each other's designs? It's not like Apple hasn't been guilty of this, too. FOr fark's sake, some of the greatest rock and roll bands in history just took the 1-4-5 and co-opted it for their own use.


If anyone was trying to patent the 1-4-5 progression, I'd be right there with you. But copyrights and patents are different things, with different scope.
 
2012-06-08 12:02:25 AM
upload.wikimedia.org

www.techcn.com.cn

zapp2.staticworld.net

Like I said, I don't know where ornamental design fits with functional design in terms of design patents, but I would say the Mac design is a logical and functional outgrowth of the history of keyboards and portable computers.
 
2012-06-08 12:04:00 AM
limcorp.net

All else being equal, this looks like a horrible keyboard.
 
2012-06-08 12:04:49 AM

RoyBatty: Like I said, I don't know where ornamental design fits with functional design in terms of design patents, but I would say the Mac design is a logical and functional outgrowth of the history of keyboards and portable computers.


So you're saying that if we pulled someone out of a cave who had never seen modern technology, showed them the first two pictures, and gave them a pen and paper, they'd draw the third?
 
2012-06-08 12:08:42 AM

Theaetetus: Plus, you're actually shifting the goalposts from a slanted keyboard, to a wedge design overall. Many other laptops are flat:


What I am saying is that I don't know how ornamental design patents are judged vis a vis obvious functional design.

I think it's pretty clear from the first typewriter, through to keyboards, and on to laptops, that wedge designs have a very long history, are frequently seen, and serve a functional purpose.

And as computers get faster, use less power, and require less energy, it is just natural for the bulk of the computer to fall away, reducing to the simplest functional designs, a wedge.

What bothers me about the design patent's claims as described in the article is that they are patenting "the wedge", not their particular interpretation of it.
 
2012-06-08 12:09:49 AM

Theaetetus: RoyBatty: Like I said, I don't know where ornamental design fits with functional design in terms of design patents, but I would say the Mac design is a logical and functional outgrowth of the history of keyboards and portable computers.

So you're saying that if we pulled someone out of a cave who had never seen modern technology, showed them the first two pictures, and gave them a pen and paper, they'd draw the third?


Is that the legal test? The cro-magnon test?
 
2012-06-08 12:15:31 AM

Theaetetus: doglover: Multitouch can't be patented. The WORLD itself is multitouch all the way down to quantum level.

Software to enhance touchscreens in souch a way as to reflect this fact of nature shouldn't be pattent worthy.

Movement can't be patented, because the universe is moving... Therefore cars that move people shouldn't be patent worthy?


There's so much wrong with that statement it boggles the mind, but I'll pretend you gave a similar example.

Tire treads.

Friction is a force in the universe. It exists naturally.

Treads can alter friction. They are man made.

Patenting a certain specific tread pattern is something maybe a company can do.

But patenting all treads, or all even remotely similar threads? That's retarded.

Certain kinds of treads will simply run with more friction. It's physics.

Same with touchscreens. Certain lines of code will simply run better than others. It's just a fact of how machines work. By now, every company should be using very similar code, even if they did all their own R&D, because all the touch screens are a similar device with a similar hardware backing.

Patenting the idea of multitouch, or a vague class of multitouch code, is only going to fark with everyone and further fark up the economy.

I don't blame the companies, I blame the legal system. The patent office should have burned a good half of the tech and drug patents they've granted in the past few decades. Look at the bullshiat drug companies pull: same active chemical, same bonding agent for the pill, yellow dye instead of blue? NEW DRUG! No generic version for another 10 years.
 
2012-06-08 12:15:39 AM
www.brightsideofnews.com
 
2012-06-08 12:15:50 AM
i.imgur.com

In the United States, a design patent is a patent granted on the ornamental design of a functional item. Design patents are a type of industrial design right. Ornamental designs of jewelry, furniture, beverage containers (see Fig. 1) and computer icons are examples of objects that are covered by design patents.

and

ornamental [ˌɔːnəˈmɛntəl]
adj
1. of value as an ornament; decorative
2. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Botany) (of a plant) used to decorate houses, gardens, etc.
n
(Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Botany) a plant cultivated for show or decoration
ornamentally adv


All that stuff the article says they are not claiming: that's ornamental.
That "wedge" that the article says they are claiming? That's not ornamental, that's functional.

I have no doubt that today's best and brightest lawyers have farked this up too in a very Orwellian way.
 
2012-06-08 12:19:35 AM

doglover: dbirchall: whatshisname: AverageAmericanGuy: Seeing as how every smartphone after the iPhone has ripped off the iPhone shape

What, a rectangle with rounded corners?
Form follows function.

This would be a great argument, if everyone else's designs had involved multitouch screens and no physical keyboards before the iPhone came out... ;)

Multitouch can't be patented. The WORLD itself is multitouch all the way down to quantum level.

Software to enhance touchscreens in souch a way as to reflect this fact of nature shouldn't be pattent worthy.


Monsanto owns plant DNA patents. In 2004 they successfully sued a farmer whose crop was contaminated with Monsanto seed for patent violations.

This is the sick, sad world we live in.
 
2012-06-08 12:22:06 AM

RoyBatty: Theaetetus: Plus, you're actually shifting the goalposts from a slanted keyboard, to a wedge design overall. Many other laptops are flat:

What I am saying is that I don't know how ornamental design patents are judged vis a vis obvious functional design.


Two questions there - ornamental vs. functional and obvious vs. nonobvious.
To the first, the primary question is whether the claimed ornamental features serve a functional purpose on their own, or whether the function can be achieved in another way. For example, raked keyboards are a function... But between feet, asymmetric keyboard designs, etc., there's dozens of ways to skin the cat. Since they're not claiming a raked keyboard, but a very specific wedge-shaped profile, then that's just an ornamental feature.

To the second, with design patents, nonobviousness and infringement tests are effectively the same: is there [prior art/infringing product] that is so similar that an ordinary consumer would confuse the two?
No one would confuse your three pictures.

I think it's pretty clear from the first typewriter, through to keyboards, and on to laptops, that wedge designs have a very long history, are frequently seen, and serve a functional purpose.

cache2.allpostersimages.com
I have to disagree that the first typewriter is a wedge design.

And as computers get faster, use less power, and require less energy, it is just natural for the bulk of the computer to fall away, reducing to the simplest functional designs, a wedge.

A simpler functional design is a plane, and as noted above, many keyboards are not raked.

What bothers me about the design patent's claims as described in the article is that they are patenting "the wedge", not their particular interpretation of it.

No - "On the other hand, competitors can still rely on meaningful tweaks to the angles, shapes and proportions of their notebook designs to avoid the patent - that's how patent design-arounds work."

Trust me... design patents are narrow. They only come up in litigation where someone intentionally tries to copy another's design so as to confuse consumers or jump onto the bandwagon. They're like a very narrow form of trade dress, and infringement is figured in the same way. For example, if I make a clip-on MP3 player that's metal, square with two flat edges and two rounded edges, and a round control pad with a four-way rocker and a center play button, then, yeah, I probably am trying to make a knockoff iPod Shuffle.
lh6.googleusercontent.com
But if I make one a different shape entirely, then I'm going to be fine.
 
2012-06-08 12:22:55 AM
www.thinkgeek.com
 
2012-06-08 12:28:14 AM

Theaetetus: A simpler functional design is a plane, and as noted above, many keyboards are not raked.


Not to any modern designer worried about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repetitive_strain_injury and ergonomics.

To any modern designer worried about RSI, a planiform keyboard is not a simpler design, it is a non-functional design, or even a harmful design.
 
2012-06-08 12:29:19 AM
cache2.allpostersimages.com

Looks like a wedge keyboard to me. You can even see the wedge they drew on the side.
 
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