Apple MBA 2010 Patent Raises Ultrabook Questions

Posted on 16 February 2012 by

Apple now have a series of patents for the MacBook Air ‘ornamental design’ and we’re wondering just how much this could impact Ultrabook design in the future. When you see approvals for layouts such as the one below, you have to wonder!


ornamental design 3

Yes, you’re looking at a featureless rectangle that was approved two days ago as Patent US D654072.

To be serious though the image is only part of the complete design shown in the patent (and we assume all images are interdependent on the others to form the actual design) and  if you put them together you’ve got the 2010 MacBook Air.

ornamental design 2ornamental design 4

The Patent is linked to previous patents that were approved for the MacBook Air which show previous designs so clearly we’re talking about a very specific design here. Despite the featureless rectangle, It certainly doesn’t look generic to me. Mashable takes an alternative view to try and stir up some viewers.

There’s another question that needs to be answered though. How much of the MacBook Air design is reliant on Intel patents? The MBA only exists because of an Intel product and I will bet my arm on the fact that Intel engineers were involved with helping Apple get the MBA designed around the silicon and making sure the thermal design was correct before the silicon was publicly available.

Apple may have a lot of money to throw around but when their design is 100% reliant on someone else’s design, you’ve got to be careful how you start fighting in the patent wars.

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  • PolkSDA

    *sigh* I really really really really REALLY really really really REALLY REALLY REALLY hate Apple.

    • bearforce1


  • Wacker

    Figure 7 looks like my fridge. – wasn`t as expensive as the Air.

  • Fredrik Augustsson

    Well there are rumors about the bestsellers Asus UX31/21 are going to get troubles due to Apple trying to control the market. Seriously they must think that the UX is a real threat, and they should – it’s a solid unit!

  • fab

    why complaining? the majority of the customers made apple what they are today…so why wondering…

  • Pingback: ASUS UX21 Ultrabook Dismantled, Shows Tight Integration « Ultrabook News and the Ultrabook Database()

  • Michael

    Actually there is noting great about Apple’s design. If you look back, many other manufacturers such as Sony designed far more advanced chasis long before Apple did. Infact, MSI had super slim notebooks so much longer than Apple ever did. Remember the MSI X series?

  • lowel

    These patents are ridiculous and only helps protect those with money to defend them. In the end, if no licensing agreements get signed, the infringer just makes minor modifications to work around the patent.

    For example, Apple’s war on Android and refusal to sign licensing contracts resulted in products being released anyway. The main benefit to Apple is that sometimes they’re able to delay the release of a product but at the cost of tarnishing their public image and a bit of money to fund the court battles.

    Meanwhile, Microsoft gets $5-$10 per Android device sold by several OEMs. It’s not a lot compared to Microsoft’s overall revenue but it’s income and could be used to develop their Windows Phone OS which still needs some catching up. Maybe some of their cross licensing agreements could help their phone OS too.

  • Trev

    Prediction: Apple sue Intel over ultrabook design. It’s not like they have a history of suing their strategic partners/parts suppliers – oh hai samsung…

  • Pingback: Apple Receives Broad Patent for Wedge Design « Ultrabook News and the Ultrabook Database()

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