Apple's New MacBook Air Wedge Design Patent Could Destroy Ultrabooks

Apple has been awarded a patent for the wedge design of the MacBook Air. The definition of the design is broad enough to cover many ultrabooks, extending Apple's apparent ownership of black rectangles to thin, vaguely katana-like triangles.

The design is defined by the solid lines in the patent drawings — the dotted lines are what Apple deems irrelevant to the overall patented design. So, really, any laptop that is wedged could fall into this category. Even machines like the new Lenovo Carbon X1, or the Dell XPS 13, both of which are substantially different from the MacBook Air but are shaped similarly. Ugh.

Here's the thing, though. If we take Tim Cook at his word — let's do that for the sake of argument — he doesn't want to bludgeon everyone on patents. But given the landscape, it's obliterate or be obliterated. It's Larry Holmes beating up Muhammad Ali, begging the ref to call the fight. Or, you know, take the fight out back and blow it up with a nuclear warhead. [The Verge]


Comments

    The patent should be invalid due to prior art. Sony did it first - http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=1970

      I'm pretty sure America no longer cares about prior art since they changed the system to first-to-patent.

      The vaio505 is mentioned on page2 of the patent document.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    Or it could force OEMs to actually visually differentiate their products. HP managed pretty well with theirs, what's everyone else's excuse?

      If you can't tell the difference between a Samsung and a Mac then you're either blind, an old woman who's never touched a computer in her life or an idiot.

    I've owned wedge laptops like the Dell M1330 etc years and years before this was patented. I simply don't understand how companies (not just Apple) are able to do this.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      was it something he said or his name?

        I always wonder. I'd love an option to see the deleted comment, after agreeing to a waiver or something. Always makes me curious.

          You're not missing much, he almost always has some lame troll post, hence his nick.

    Hrmm.. fair enough.. if you go look at the full article, you can see they are not just patenting the netbook itself but a specific design aesthetic.. whether or not Sony or Dell have done it in the past is irrelevant (at least these days) and they weren't smart enough to patent it themselves.. they would have, if they'd thought of it.

    I hate all this "design aesthetic patent" shit because it really cripples the market more than it boosts innovation into the things that actually matter.

      I think the Mesopotamians invented the wedge.

      I can understand copyrighting a form but to allow a patent on a specific shape is ludicrous in the extreme. Does Apple pay the US patent office to allow such things to be patented.

      A patent is not enforceable if there's "prior art" in the public domain already demonstrating the principle or design .

      Once something's in the public domain, you can't even patent the idea if was your own. It should be interesting to see how Apple goes trying to defend this patent, if they ever do.

      All I think they've achieved here is to do further damage to their image further with a worthless patent.

    Sigh, not again. Apple, we were just starting to forget how much you much us despise you.

    Apple is like religion, does nothing but fill people with false hope and slow down progress, if it wasn't for these stupid patent wars we'd all be holding quad core phones with 30 day battery life by now.

      This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      Yeah!! All companies should be as innovative as Microsoft, right Nate? Oh, wait...........

    HO HUM here we go again with "PROTECTION POLICY" in the form of a patent causing ownership of ........ an open design that makes money !
    OK it may be smart bussiness, but why not do it with a car, dotted lines defining body shell not patented four wheels with a passenger compartment it easy to see what Apple has done here they've decided to have a coup on modern design, it's just more join the crowd then sue them !

      You're so right. And because they did this one service for humanity, we should never call any of their decisions into question ever again. All hail mighty God Apple.

        Sorry, I hit "reply" on the wrong comment. Was directed at Rick's comments above

          I can forgive you .....Now I want to read Rick's post ......it's been deleted, must have been bad

    It defiantly sounds more severe than it is - I think if they tried to pull a company up with it and block product launch the government would allow the product through in favour of competition.

    Just when i thought i couldn't hate Apple or the patent system any more than i did....

    The design is a logical step when slimming a device with ports in the back and nothing at the front.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUvADbpqGlQ

    Apple just needs to go die already.

    Haters gonna hate!

      and idiots gonna continue to fund this company

    People, remember it is not just Apple that has been awarded patents as stupid as this. It is only that Apple news makes a catchy headline.

      Exactly. It's listed as a news item for the sole reason to gather all the Apple haters together, so they can remind us how much Apple suck and how they are the only company in the universe to patent stupid things.

      Having said that, I love lots of Apple products, but still agree that this particular patent is stupid in the extreme and there's no doubt it would be a shame to see the PC Ultrabook category damaged as a result.

      Apple sure does love making itself look petty and afraid of competition. It's cringeworthy for those of us that like their products, but don't like the way they are doing business in the courtroom.

    Someone at the patent office is making a lot of cash.

    Just go away Apple, you didn't do it first...and whether or not the law system agrees with you it is plain ugly behavior. I'm really disappointed in them for doing this...it's really a truly ugly side of humanity (not just business) rearing it's head here...disgraceful. Greed and hunger for power...it's very, very bad that such a large company is essentially endorsing business war and using money to push everyone else out. There are real people; designers and artists amongst others, with truly original ideas at companies other than Apple and Apple are punishing them on a personal and professional level through the law system. There is no defense against the world's first true mega-corporation and it's really upsetting.

    blah blah blah, I'm going to post an opinion about patent law even though I know nothing about it and probably didn't read past the first paragraph of this article. #gizmodoreaders

    I love how all the cry babies came dropping by to whinge like little girls. Get over it. Theres nothing you can do about it. Oh wait, yes there is. Don't buy Apple and stop being whiny little pussies.

      It would be just super if the Syria public just accepted their government etc etc

      The way apple do business, we might not have a choice soon.... competition is HEALTHY for business, stifling the market makes for no innovative advancements in tech just rehashed ideas....

    apple is the kid who licks his finger and touches every piece of cake so nobody else wants one!

    The Air design is pretty remarkable. I'm not surprised Apple want a patent on it, it really is ingenious.

      Not really. What can be said for it is that it's really nice, it's not "ingenious" or remarkable in any clever sense of the world except for pure aesthetics. The internal architecture that makes it happen is simple, basic, and obvious.

    I don't know if I could blame Apple for this really... they are being a villain, but only because some imbecile at the US patent office is letting them. Obviously patenting a generic shape for a device which other devices all use is nonsense, but they only do it because the system allows them to do it.

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