The filing, made public this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and discovered by AppleInsider, is simply entitled "Packaging Assembly." It notes that competition in the consumer electronics market has made it necessary for device makers to spend time designing product packaging in addition to the products themselves.
"Appealing retail packaging may encourage purchase of products that a consumer may otherwise overlook," the filing states. "Accordingly, design considerations for packaging have become increasingly important."
But the design of packaging should go beyond just aesthetic appeal, Apple argues, and should make it easy to insert the product and also for the customer to remove it once they have purchased it.
"While many designs and techniques used to package products have generally worked well in the past, there is always a desire to improve packaging, such that improved functionality and/or appearance is provided," the application reads.
In March of 2011, when the iPad 2 Smart Cover was first released, AppleInsider detailed the product's smart packaging, dubbed "frustration free." The design of the packaging makes it easy for consumers to return it without destroying the packaging.
The retail package is held closed by an adhesive-backed tab that holds the cardboard back of the box to its clear plastic front. Users can open the packaging by simply pulling a tab on the back, and no scissors are necessary.
Once the tab has been removed, the box opens to reveal a recyclable plastic film that slides out of place to access the Smart Cover.
In addition to Apple's renowned design chief Ive, the full list of inventors includes Jody Akana, Bartley K. Andre, Jeremy Bataillou, Daniel J. Coster, Danielle de Iuliis, Evans Hankey, Julian Hoenig, richard P. Howarth, Duncan Robert Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russel-clarke, Christopher J. Stringer, Eugene Antony Whang, and Rico Zorkendorfer.