The United States Patent and Trademark Office may have granted Apple a design patent for its iPad Smart Covers
yesterday, but a Colorado man is claiming Apple’s popular iPad accessory violates a utility patent he already owns.
Jerald Bovino of Aspen received a patent in 2005 for a “Portable Computer Case.” The claim cites that Apple’s Smart Covers feature a “rib” that is detailed in and protected by US patent 6,977,809. Both Bovino’s case and Apple’s magnetic covers feature ribbed designs, but it seems that Bovino’s complaint revolves around the function rather than the design element.
A few of the Bovino’s claims from his patent filing are:
A portable computer comprising: an openable case defining an exterior surface for holding the computer; 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.
The computer of claim 1 wherein the resilient ribs are comprised of a material selected form the group of rubber, urethane or nylon.
The computer of claim 1 wherein said plurality of resilient ribs are positioned on the case in locations to absorb impacts that can effect the operation or functioning of the computer.
A portable computer comprising: an openable case defining an exterior surface for holding the computer; a plurality of resilient ribs positioned on the exterior surface of said case, and a resilient material positioned on at least a portion of the exterior surface of the case, the resilient material and resilient ribs protect the computer form wear and tear during the transporting and use of the computer.
It remains to be seen what kind of chance Bovino stands against the Cupertino giant, especially considering Apple is constantly involved in patent disputes around the world and is more or less a pro in the intellectual property arena.