Apple has been granted a design patent for the rounded edges to the rectangular screen of the iPad, Matt Macari at The Verge reports.
Apple owns patent D670,286, which is “The ornamental design for a portable display device.”
That means it really does just cover the rounded edges of the iPad. “There’s no other way to look at it,” says Macari.
Apple also has a similar design patent for the iPhone, which it used in its lawsuit against Samsung.
To win a design patent, Apple needs to show that its an ornamental design, and not a practical design, says Christina Bonnington at Wired. In other words, rounded corners can’t be essential to building or using a tablet.
Apple can’t use this patent in a lawsuit against Samsung, Lea Shaver, Associate Professor at Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law tells Wired. The reason is that Samsung has made its designs different enough that they don’t look like the iPad.
Also, Macari warns that if Apple were to try to use such a broad patent, the patent could be invalidated. Anyone being sued by Apple would try to prove there’s no way Apple can control the design of rounded corners.
And rightly so. It’s kind of insane to hold a patent on rounded corners.
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