Apple now holds the patent for rectangular device with rounded corners

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




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136 Comments

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?

52. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

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

74. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Protecting your ip isn't incompetent or rotten.

82. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 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.

86. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 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?

151. paulislegend

Posts: 42; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

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

83. Lboogey6

Posts: 281; Member since: Jan 31, 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

92. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 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.

104. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

You don't know what intellect is, retard

113. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

but behaving like a douchebag is..

122. GENERAL-LEVY

Posts: 23; Member since: Nov 06, 2012

Another Taco50

123. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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...

138. darkdroid

Posts: 44; Member since: Sep 13, 2012

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

65. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 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

87. GENERAL-LEVY

Posts: 23; Member since: Nov 06, 2012

Who cares, rectangle with ugly curves look ugly.

2. vayacondios80

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 10, 2011

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

16. sarb009

Posts: 322; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

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

21. Aeires unregistered

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

54. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 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!!

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.

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.

19. Muhannad

Posts: 455; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

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

30. shy2papa

Posts: 336; Member since: Jan 23, 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

43. SGSatlantis

Posts: 227; Member since: Jul 20, 2011

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

45. paulislegend

Posts: 42; Member since: Mar 15, 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!!!!!

46. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 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.

70. paulyyd

Posts: 340; Member since: Jan 08, 2011

Lol how old are you? like 12 right? you sound mad brosef

73. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

Wrong, I'm 15; 12 is never a good year.

101. JGuinan007

Posts: 699; Member since: May 19, 2011

This just shows how bad our patent system in the US really is.

107. ogy_dogy

Posts: 453; Member since: Jun 29, 2012

Might have aswell patented a blank piece of paper ...

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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