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Ultrabook makers fear design patent lawsuits from Apple - report

post #1 of 74
Thread Starter 
PC makers are said to be "facing threats from Apple" over Ultrabook designs that resemble the ultraportable MacBook Air.

Because of Apple's alleged threats, Windows-based Ultrabook makers are expected to invest more in research and development to avoid patent infringement lawsuits, according to DigiTimes. Some thin-and-light PC makers are said to have already hesitated with their Ultrabook plans in fear of a lawsuit from Apple.

The third-generation Ultrabooks set to hit the market in the second quarter of 2013 will reportedly feature 3D displays and high-definition user interfaces. PC makers are also expected to add new sensors, industry sources reportedly said.

Apple has shown a willingness to protect its patented designs for mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad, as evidenced by numerous lawsuits filed by Apple against competing device makers. But while Apple has been aggressive in protecting the design of its iOS devices, it has not yet taken aim at Ultrabook makers who compete with its MacBook Air lineup.

One executive at PC maker HP was asked earlier this year about similarities between the design of its company's new Windows-based Ultrabook and Apple's MacBook Air. Stacy Wolff, vice president of Industrial Design at Hewlett-Packard, dismissed concerns that Apple could sue and accuse HP of copying the design of the MacBook Air.

MacBook Air


"Apple may like to think they own silver, but they don't," Wolff said. "In no way did HP try to mimic Apple. In life there are a lot of similarities."

Ultrabooks feature many of the same defining features as the MacBook Air: solid-state storage, instant-on capabilities, and super-thin design thanks to the lack of an optical drive. The Ultrabook specification was created by chipmaker Intel in an effort to spur sales of Windows-based notebooks.
post #2 of 74
It's funny how these coincidental similarities in HW design only seem to pop up after Apple has released a new product. It's almost as if it's not coincidental at all.

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post #3 of 74

They should be afraid. Very Afraid.

 

I can't wait until Apple starts suing all of those copycats.

post #4 of 74

I've wondered why Apple hasn't gone after the Air clones, yet.  I'm sure this is a complicated issue, given Intel was the company providing the design direction to the pc market.  If Apple created the design and Intel was not given the rights to offer it to others, then Apple should be going after both Intel and the pc makers who have created virtual knock-offs of the Air.

post #5 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

It's funny how these coincidental similarities in HW design only seem to pop up after Apple has released a new product. It's almost as if it's not coincidental at all.


^This

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post #6 of 74

What a massive mess the patent and copywriting laws are though.  It's pathetic that there should be so much grey area.  Either laws need to be enacted that say Apples right, and they can actually stop the sale of stuff that is suspiciously like their stuff, or we need some clear laws that say Samsung are right.

 

What's dreadful is the amount of lawyers who will be filling their boots, and effectively driving up the cost of products to us, the consumers.

post #7 of 74
Quote:
Ultrabook makers fear design patent lawsuits from Apple - report

MAYBE DON'T MAKE YOUR COMPUTERS LOOK LIKE APPLE'S, THEN.

"Oh, no! We're going to be sued for stealing Apple's designs and building a type of computer they came up with! How could we have prevented this?!"

Even if this does happen, I'd imagine Apple is more insulted that Intel is taking credit for this type of computer when it was Apple that forced Intel to make the chips necessary for one in the first place.

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post #8 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

It's funny how these coincidental similarities in HW design only seem to pop up after Apple has released a new product. It's almost as if it's not coincidental at all.

You mean, when you remove the optical drive in a laptop, it gets thinner? Man, I can't imagine if this kind of behavior existed back in the 80s or something, we'd have to have multiple keyboard designs because someone would own a patent for the QWERTY keyboard for 20 years.

 

Honestly, if you build a quality product, it will NOT matter if competitors try to copy you, because a copy is never as good as the original. It becomes greed when you say "I want all of YOUR sales because you're product looks like my product because they are both laptops!"

 

I think of all the money that's been wasted on lawyers instead of being pumped right back into R&D. The only time I've ever seen functionality clearly lifted from one product to another was Siri and S Voice, and guess what, no one uses S Voice because it's crappy. Apple doesn't need to worry about it. That's how innovation works. If you've really done something innovative, competitors will not be able to rip off what you've done so easily, and by the time they do, you've moved onto the next thing and it doesn't matter anymore.

post #9 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgregory1 View Post

I've wondered why Apple hasn't gone after the Air clones, yet.  I'm sure this is a complicated issue, given Intel was the company providing the design direction to the pc market.  If Apple created the design and Intel was not given the rights to offer it to others, then Apple should be going after both Intel and the pc makers who have created virtual knock-offs of the Air.

Apple can't patent the idea of an ultra thin or portable laptop, that class existed with netbooks long before the Air.  Dell has had an ultraportable for quite a while and managed to make it look nothing like the Air but still look slick.  These companies are making excuses for their horrible excuse for an R&D department, they're used to just copying others & getting away with it.

post #10 of 74

Seems like Apple legal strategy is working. Everyone will think twice now before copying Apple designs.

post #11 of 74

Yes. All this "wasted money" and all these "expensive" lawsuits DO have a purpose. They send a message. 

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

 

Apple has always presented a confident front. 

 

We don't know this for sure, but their lawyers are probably aware of their long-term plans and the wisdom of their strategy. Courtroom decorum is one thing, but there's no reason to mince words. 

 

If Apple feels confident and secure in their position, then they can trumpet it all they like, and probably should. Apple is an aggressive competitor and are aggressive about thejr IP, and have been since Day 1 of the company. There is no reason Apple's attitude about their position should prejudice a judge against them. So far, Apple has been the only one in these patent wars who has been able to force the competition to jump through hoops - technical or legal. And with each appearance in court, Apple sends a VERY clear message to other  competitors and would-be infringers (especially smaller ones with less financial wherewithal): make VERY sure you're clear about your patents, because if you aren't, we'll be seeing each other in court, and it WON'T be a short ride. 

 

Apple, to their credit, has demonstrated very clearly, that they are not afraid to use the court system to test the validity of competitors' patents. These actions will give everyone an opportunity to *really* see where everyone stands. Apple is keeping everyone honest. And alot of companies have never had to fess up and really determine whether what they *think* they own is actually theirs. This sort of litigation has everyone lay their cards on the table. We're seeing everyone's true colours now. 

 

If your products and patents are legit, there's no reason they can't withstand legal tests. Apple gave fair warning in 2007 (and once again, loud and clear in 2009) that they're ready to protect their IP if necessary. We're seeing that they really meant it, and that's what the courts are there for.  

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by Quadra 610

 

http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/150977/apple-posts-2-6m-bond-to-block-sales-of-samsung-galaxy-tab-10-1#post_2136026

 

Apple isn't necessarily looking for big wins or even far-reaching injunctions. 

 

The *very act* of Apple tying up a major player in tech over (alleged) IP misappropriation sends a message to everyone else, especially the smaller players who can't afford to throw money at lawyers. 

 

It isn't a "weak" legal strategy, since Apple loses nothing (aside from pocket change), but gains a great deal in terms of what they communicate to competitors, current infringers and prospective infringers. It's a long-term strategy whose effects are only truly felt over time, especially in terms of what competitors choose *not to do*, or what they feel discouraged from doing. 

post #12 of 74

In some cases these ultrabooks look INSANELY similar to the MBA. I think Apple has a good chance against the ASUS zenbook one.

post #13 of 74

You can have a thin notebook, but you can't just lift an exact design. I think Samsung is actually safe here, since their Series 7 and Series 9 notebooks do look different. Some of HP's notebooks look like MacBook Pros, and the ASUS Zenbook looks almost identical to the MacBook Air, down to the placement of the ports and the tapered design.
 

post #14 of 74

I recently purchased the Samsung series 9 laptop. It is for my wife, and since she has to use it for work where she needs MS Visio and Project (both of which are unavailable for the Mac), we had to go the Windows route (otherwise, to meet her spec for the laptop - lightweight + good battery life - we'd have gone with either the MBP or MBA).

Samsung has built a beautiful laptop in terms of finish and quality (perceived), but the display on the 15", which is what we bought, is beyond Bad! The multitouch trackpad, although not as polished as in the Macs, is a welcome addition in the Windows world and very similar in capabilities to those found on the Mac laptops. And that is what I want to comment on in this post.

Anyone who has seen the touchpad settings in the MBx control panel has to be impressed with how thoughtfully and clearly Apple has illustrated the various multitouch gestures that can be made and whether to turn them on/off. So, one of the first things that I noticed in the Samsung was that they "wholesale ripped off" that concept/idea from the MBx! ;) They also have some notes in a corner of that window about patents issued about it to some "Elan Technologies" (the actual multitouch capability or the design of the settings window, they haven't clarified).

post #15 of 74

They should fear Apple.  Apple has a long history of starting lawsuits against competitors, based upon design elements.  Many, many of them turn out to be losers.  But seemingly, that does not deter apple from filing more and  more lawsuits.

post #16 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

What a massive mess the patent and copywriting laws are though.  It's pathetic that there should be so much grey area.  Either laws need to be enacted that say Apples right, and they can actually stop the sale of stuff that is suspiciously like their stuff, or we need some clear laws that say Samsung are right.

What's dreadful is the amount of lawyers who will be filling their boots, and effectively driving up the cost of products to us, the consumers.

Are you sure you didn't mean silver? ;-)
post #17 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

They should be afraid. Very Afraid.

I can't wait until Apple starts suing all of those copycats.

Fact: HP says its not worried about Apple suing them.
Fact: There are presently no suits against Ultrabook makers
Fact: DigiTimes makes this claim without attribution

Conclusion: Is this for real? Or more DigiFUD?

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post #18 of 74

duplicate post
 

post #19 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajaram View Post

I recently purchased the Samsung series 9 laptop. It is for my wife, and since she has to use it for work where she needs MS Visio and Project (both of which are unavailable for the Mac), we had to go the Windows route (otherwise, to meet her spec for the laptop - lightweight + good battery life - we'd have gone with either the MBP or MBA).

Samsung has built a beautiful laptop in terms of finish and quality (perceived), but the display on the 15", which is what we bought, is beyond Bad! The multitouch trackpad, although not as polished as in the Macs, is a welcome addition in the Windows world and very similar in capabilities to those found on the Mac laptops. And that is what I want to comment on in this post.

Anyone who has seen the touchpad settings in the MBx control panel has to be impressed with how thoughtfully and clearly Apple has illustrated the various multitouch gestures that can be made and whether to turn them on/off. So, one of the first things that I noticed in the Samsung was that they "wholesale ripped off" that concept/idea from the MBx! ;) They also have some notes in a corner of that window about patents issued about it to some "Elan Technologies" (the actual multitouch capability or the design of the settings window, they haven't clarified).


I do believe one can run Windows OS on a Mac and run it very efficiently.

post #20 of 74

Has Apple ever won any design patent lawsuit?

post #21 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

It's funny how these coincidental similarities in HW design only seem to pop up after Apple has released a new product. It's almost as if it's not coincidental at all.

 

exactly.

post #22 of 74

Months ago the Acer Aspire S3 Ultra book was on display at Costco in the Chicago area for $699.97 (13.3" i5 with 4GB Ram -- 320 HD/SSD?).

 

It was pretty much an exact (gray) plastic copy of the MBA... Thick to thin design with recessed keyboard, etc.

post #23 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Fact: HP says its not worried about Apple suing them.
Fact: There are presently no suits against Ultrabook makers
Fact: DigiTimes makes this claim without attribution
Conclusion: Is this for real? Or more DigiFUD?

Right, Digitimes == rubbish.

I wish we had a bit of sway with the writers here to stop reporting this nonsense.
post #24 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post

Has Apple ever won any design patent lawsuit?

They did win against iMac clones a decade ago. More recently I think they won some against Samsung's products, but most of that is still in litigation. Lawsuits are slow going.
post #25 of 74

Isn't this exactly the point of all Apple lawsuits? Or at least one of the primary ones?

 

 

 

Quote:
Because of Apple's alleged threats, Windows-based Ultrabook makers are expected to invest more in research and development to avoid patent infringement lawsuits

 

post #26 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Right, Digitimes == rubbish.
I wish we had a bit of sway with the writers here to stop reporting this nonsense.

If we start deleting as spam all posts that contain the word 'DigiTimes', Defensio will start automatically blocking all articles involving them.

I was going to put the laugh after that sentence, but I'm serious. lol.gif

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #27 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

It's funny how these coincidental similarities in HW design only seem to pop up after Apple has released a new product. It's almost as if it's not coincidental at all.

Oh Really... You mean like how Sony's Vaio X505 from 2004 had a tapered shape so striking that Apple appears to have found it suitable to 'use' on the MacBook Air?

450
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"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #28 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Oh Really... You mean like how Sony's Vaio X505 from 2004 had a tapered shape so striking that Apple appears to have found it suitable to 'use' on the MacBook Air?
450

I'm sorry, is that keyboard REALLY at the bottom? Like… like all laptops before 1991? No, Apple did not find it suitable to use that mockery of design.

Originally posted by Marvin

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post #29 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

It's funny how these coincidental similarities in HW design only seem to pop up after Apple has released a new product. It's almost as if it's not coincidental at all.

Yes isn't that really strange! Perhaps Apple should throw them a bone and allow them to copy the portable Apple IIci.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #30 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'm sorry, is that keyboard REALLY at the bottom? Like… like all laptops before 1991? No, Apple did not find it suitable to use that mockery of design.

I quite specifically noted that it was the 'tapered shape' that the MacBook Air shares with the 2004 Sony Vaio X505, so your (strawman) attempt at making this about the location of the keyboard is completely moot.
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post #31 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgregory1 View Post

I've wondered why Apple hasn't gone after the Air clones, yet.  I'm sure this is a complicated issue, given Intel was the company providing the design direction to the pc market.  If Apple created the design and Intel was not given the rights to offer it to others, then Apple should be going after both Intel and the pc makers who have created virtual knock-offs of the Air.

 

 

It is not complicated. Intel would be complicit. Apple, however, I doubt would go after Intel.

post #32 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Oh Really... You mean like how Sony's Vaio X505 from 2004 had a tapered shape so striking that Apple appears to have found it suitable to 'use' on the MacBook Air?
450

You know better than that. Design is about the finer details. A tapered body isn't that, it's just a shape primitive. Take a look at HP's ultrabook and compare it vs. the Air and vs your X505. You can take detail shots of the HP and they'll look just like the same shot on an Air. That isn't true of the X505.
post #33 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


I'm sorry, is that keyboard REALLY at the bottom? Like… like all laptops before 1991? No, Apple did not find it suitable to use that mockery of design.

Nor the D cell battery sized hinge. That guy will pull ANYTHING out of his butt to slam Apple.

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

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post #34 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by H2P View Post

Months ago the Acer Aspire S3 Ultra book was on display at Costco in the Chicago area for $699.97 (13.3" i5 with 4GB Ram -- 320 HD/SSD?).

 

It was pretty much an exact (gray) plastic copy of the MBA... Thick to thin design with recessed keyboard, etc.

 

I saw the same thing at Staples this weekend and showed my girlfriend to see her reaction.  She just couldn't believe it and laughed at how much the same it was yet how cheap and shoddy it looked. There's simply no substitute for the original.

 

I personally got a big kick out of the rubber foot pads.  They're nearly the same but for a different color and made into rounded squares instead of circles.  They really took everything right from the MBA and just made the minimum tweaks to make each element somehow different, if ever so slightly.

post #35 of 74

I agree that it's BS how similar some of these products are to the MBA, but these lawsuits are getting ridiculous. Subway can't go and start a law suit against Quiznos for selling a ham sandwich with cheddar cheese on wheat bread for the "look and feel" of the sandwich. They're the same product, they are bound to look the same!

post #36 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

You know better than that. Design is about the finer details. A tapered body isn't that, it's just a shape primitive. Take a look at HP's ultrabook and compare it vs. the Air and vs your X505. You can take detail shots of the HP and they'll look just like the same shot on an Air. That isn't true of the X505.

As the owner of both a MacBook Air 11.6 and an HP Folio 13, I can find not a single design similarity between it and the MacBook Air other than they both happen to be slim form-factor laptops.

450

Anyway... Things like the general shape of a device should never be allowed patents in the first place.
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post #37 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


I quite specifically noted that it was the 'tapered shape' that the MacBook Air shares with the 2004 Sony Vaio X505, so your (strawman) attempt at making this about the location of the keyboard is completely moot.

Good thing you did, too, since most other design elements fail to support your argument.

 

Again.

post #38 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


They did win against iMac clones a decade ago. More recently I think they won some against Samsung's products, but most of that is still in litigation. Lawsuits are slow going.


Yes, it has won. Here is another. Based on this precedent I thought Apple would get injunctions against Samsung for sure. 

post #39 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by wcbaritone10 View Post

I agree that it's BS how similar some of these products are to the MBA, but these lawsuits are getting ridiculous. Subway can't go and start a law suit against Quiznos for selling a ham sandwich with cheddar cheese on wheat bread for the "look and feel" of the sandwich. They're the same product, they are bound to look the same!

 

 

Yes, but the difference is food is not protected as IP.

post #40 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

You mean, when you remove the optical drive in a laptop, it gets thinner? Man, I can't imagine if this kind of behavior existed back in the 80s or something, we'd have to have multiple keyboard designs because someone would own a patent for the QWERTY keyboard for 20 years.

 

Honestly, if you build a quality product, it will NOT matter if competitors try to copy you, because a copy is never as good as the original. It becomes greed when you say "I want all of YOUR sales because you're product looks like my product because they are both laptops!"

 

I think of all the money that's been wasted on lawyers instead of being pumped right back into R&D. The only time I've ever seen functionality clearly lifted from one product to another was Siri and S Voice, and guess what, no one uses S Voice because it's crappy. Apple doesn't need to worry about it. That's how innovation works. If you've really done something innovative, competitors will not be able to rip off what you've done so easily, and by the time they do, you've moved onto the next thing and it doesn't matter anymore.

 

 

Ummm so if they cant copy exactly it is the only indication to real innovation?

Ummm no. Even if it is the simplist thing in the world, someone has the right to patent it or protect it in some manner. Just because an innovation is stupid simple, does not mean that anyone should be able copy it. So yes IMO.. look and feel should be 'protected'(maybe not by patents but by something). IMO(and I do realize there is a degree of subjectivity) Android and more to the point Samsung copied overall (not just one or two items) but overall look and feel. Windows phone has different look and feel, palm OS has different look and feel.  

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