Apple may have designed the Smart Battery Case to avoid a patent dispute with Mophie, a company that produces iPhone cases, according to The Verge.
An analysis of Mophie’s patents reveals that the company has made it virtually impossible to design anything that does not look like the Smart Battery Case.
Apple’s newest accessory, which costs $99/£79, has a bulge on the back to accommodate the larger battery that can charge a depleted iPhone. Users quickly pointed out that the case looks odd, especially given Apple’s focus on polished, subtle hardware design.
The Verge points to patent #9,172,070, granted on October 15, that lays out Mophie’s design and bans anyone else from making a case with a removable upper section (which is why Apple’s is all one piece) or a case in which the battery is located in the bottom half.
Apple is relatively late to the battery case market, meaning that a company such as Mophie could easily patent functional, and aesthetically pleasing, designs that others then have to work around.