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Apple now holds the patent for rectangular device with rounded corners

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Apple now holds the patent for rectangular device with rounded corners
As unbelievable as it may seem, the design for a rectangular device with rounded corners is now officially in Apple's portfolio of intellectual property. Patent number D670,286, which the company filed back in 2010, has been issued by the USPTO on November 6, and within it is described "the ornamental design for a portable display device", as pictured below. In other words, the majority of tablet manufacturers could potentially get sued by Apple for selling products that look too much like an iPad. But is that really going to happen?

Well, not necessarily, even though most of the tablets on the market today are indeed shaped like rectangles with rounded corners. A closer look at the patent – at the images it contains, to be more specific, reveals that Apple is describing the outer edge of a tablet device, as indicated by the solid line it is drawn with. The dashed contours are just there so that the device that is pictured would look like a thing (yes, it is obviously a first-gen iPad). But in its current form, the patent could be ruled not specific enough, meaning that it might not be useful against tablets that look similar to what is being pictured. Moreover, it might be good only against tablets with a screen ratio of 4:3, which won't be of much use to Apple since the plethora of Android slates sport widescreen displays with aspect ratios of about 16:9 or 16:10. 

Long story short, it is fascinating to know that a rounded rectangle can really be patented, even though some thought that wasn't actually possible. However, that does not guarantee that the patent war between Apple and the rest of the tech world will be fueled by the issuing of the aforementioned patent. Or at least we hope it won't. Nevertheless, this whole story brings forth an interesting argument – do we need a fundamental change in the way patents are being evaluated by the USPTO? Let us know what you think about that down in the comments!

source: USPTO (PDF) via The Verge




148 Comments
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posted on 08 Nov 2012, 06:46 12

1. angelesmec (unregistered)


What device might cause a manufacturer to get sued by Apple, the present and past devices or just future devices to come?

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 08:35 14

52. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)


Dont ask, just say "rotten, non-innovative and incompetent Apple" is a fact

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 10:31 4

74. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 14191; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Protecting your ip isn't incompetent or rotten.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 11:06 11

77. lyndon420 (Posts: 4559; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


So you think they deserve the right to anything rectangular with rounded corners?

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 12:03 3

79. roldefol (Posts: 4327; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


The basic criteria for a patent are that it be new and non-obvious. Given that a) We knew Apple was working on a tablet before the iPad was introduced and b) the 2007 iPod Touch and iPhone are rounded-off rectangles, is this design non-obvious?

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 17:42

110. Peter98 (Posts: 119; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)


I will say yes. Why they can't, other manufacturer no going to take it. You can also take copyright of your name.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 21:17 4

132. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)


Go f**k my grandma's cow, Apple
PS try not to sue it for having round toes!!!

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 12:18 10

82. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


So if Microsoft had applied for and gotten the patent instead (they had tablet PCs as early as 2002 that were rectangles with rounded corners) you would say the same thing?

By the way, the nanosecond I saw your post in the free Google services post I knew you would be here saying something in support of this.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 13:07 8

86. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


Ok, I'm running to the US Patent Office to apply for a patent on "round,black in color rubber made objects". Now all tire manufacturers past,present and future will have to pay me!!! Is that Apple's line of reasoning?

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 08:50

151. paulislegend (Posts: 42; Member since: 15 Mar 2012)


I like your style, sir. Many thumbs up to you.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 12:28 6

83. Lboogey6 (Posts: 281; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)


i was interested in hearing a reply to justify backing this up. basically you want Ford to have all other vehicles stopped and any other first creator to seize the ability for growth and competition? this isn't just a feature or gesture its a design so simple that otherwise youre ok with people having to by triangle, round, or pentagon shaped devices if they don't want apple. i hate to say it but you're an idiot i didn;t want to go there but as im typing you just said hitler had every right to weed out any other options

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 14:17 8

92. Zero0 (Posts: 592; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


When searching the USPTO's registry, I found that no one has yet patented "a method for obtaining oxygen for use in cellular respiration." Upon this discovery, I promptly filed for said patent. Within a matter of years, I will sue no fewer than 7 billion people for violation of my patent.

All this, because protecting my completely original idea is perfectly moral.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 17:05 2

104. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


You don't know what intellect is, retard

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 18:14 5

113. bayusuputra (Posts: 963; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


but behaving like a douchebag is..

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 19:28 4

122. GENERAL-LEVY (banned) (Posts: 23; Member since: 06 Nov 2012)


Another Taco50

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 19:51 2

123. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


So...Apple created the rectangle. Thats what you are saying?

Please take a look at pic 4...and tell me Apple isnt insane. At some point....even the most blind follower has to see thru the Distortion Field...

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 23:45 2

138. darkdroid (Posts: 44; Member since: 13 Sep 2012)


u blind hypocrite ..you cant even see how insanely brainwashed you are

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 09:12 5

65. PhenomFaz (Posts: 1236; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)


meh...its getting tiring how hard Apple is trying to make a quick buck....its pretty clear that they realize they're on their decline because of their attitude...
Apple enough already....just make a winner device...I am sure everybody loves a good device if you can provide the customers with one!

Just try suing Google and the whole Android community...I would love to see that

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 13:20 2

87. GENERAL-LEVY (banned) (Posts: 23; Member since: 06 Nov 2012)


Who cares, rectangle with ugly curves look ugly.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 06:47 52

2. vayacondios80 (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Aug 2011)


This is really stupid of the patent office to really let this happen

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 07:04 16

16. sarb009 (Posts: 310; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


Yeah this is the limit of stupidity or u can say it has been crossed by apple and patent office

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 07:12 15

21. Aeires (unregistered)


Stupidity on one side, greed and arrogance on the other.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 08:36 3

54. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4003; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Come to look at it...those pictures look better than the real thing!! :D (sarcasm)!!
But i'm really sick and tired of the patent system spoiling everything!!

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 17:14 4

106. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


Finally, the blame is being placed in the correct place. We can argue up and down about Apple's lawsuits, but in reality, the beef should be with the patent office that allows this crap to go through. Not for a moment would I have awarded Apple this patent.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 17:31 1

109. Aeires (unregistered)


Getting the patent is one thing, using it in malicious manners is another. Apple is not innocent in some of their lawsuits, they are using patents to bully opposition and just because they had them awarded from the patent office doesn't make it right.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 07:09 16

19. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)


That's because they're getting paid, money has found its way around the patent office.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 07:29 6

30. shy2papa (Posts: 313; Member since: 23 Jan 2010)


They might as well patent the word Air also no device should have the word Air, in-short why no patent the mobile industry while you are at it.

This is really really stupid

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 08:12 2

43. SGSatlantis (Posts: 226; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)


Yeah and then Nike would pay Apple royalties, like no more then 35$.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 08:26 6

45. paulislegend (Posts: 42; Member since: 15 Mar 2012)


This is absolutely what is wrong with the patent office...THIS PATENT IS CRIMINAL. I don't understand why the regulations on what is being patented isn't made to be more specific??? for instance... why isn't the corner radius a requirement??

how can such a non specific patent be passed when there is prior art already in existence... why is Google's drop down notification tray still pending!!!!!

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 08:28 2

46. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


I find this story iRRelevant.

Moreover, my long-@$$ story short, it is an abomiNattion of U.S. tax dollars to allow the U.S.P.T.O. to grant the application.

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