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Apple Successfully Patents Rounded Rectangles… Yup

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Apple has been granted an additional patent in relation to the ornamental design of the iPad. The US patent D670,286 is for a portable display device and it seems to be a rounded rectangle. At the moment it isn’t known whether the patent would be useful against Samsung in the courts though.

Apple wins patent for rounded rectangles

Apple had put the patent D504, 889 against Samsung as part of their lawsuit, which Apple said that Samsung had copied their devices for their Galaxy S and Tab devices. The patent in question appears to be based on a very early prototype of the iPad.

A US judge gave Apple a preliminary injunction against the Tab 10.1 on the basis that Samsung may have infringed on the patent. However later it was ruled that Samsung had not actually infringed on the patent, although they had infringed on other patents in the design of some of their phones and tablets. Samsung did say that it was unfortunate that a patent law could be used to give one company the monopoly over rectangles that had rounded corners. The injunction was later taken away.

The new patent which has been given to Apple seems to cover just what Apple and Samsung critics have claimed was in the 889 patent. It includes drawings of the iPad in its original form, with the majority of the unique features highlighted in dashed lines. The patent describes the broken lines to show portions of the device which form no part of the claimed design.

The only lines that are unbroken in the drawings are the outline of the flat, rounded rectangle face of the device. All of the other features, which include the speakers, home button, display size and the dock connector, are not included in the patent.

At the moment it is unclear if the patent for portable display devices that have an overall rounded rectangle shape would be used by Apple in court .

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