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Apple wins patent for glass-on-metal trackpad designed by Jobs & Ive

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Apple on Tuesday was awarded a patent for the design of the glass trackpad atop the aluminum unibody enclosure of its MacBook lineup.

Patent


U.S. Patent No. D674382, simply entitled Portable Computer, was granted to Apple by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Its illustrations show the "ornamental design for a portable computer," and included among its inventors are Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and chief designer Jony Ive.

Apple notes in the patent that the surface of its MacBook computers is "metallic," and the included illustrations show the company's existing trackpad design found below the keyboard on a MacBook.

The awarded patent stems from a series of application continuations, the first of which was filed with the USPTO in 2008. In the document, Apple refers to the MacBook illustrations as "our new design."

The larger glass trackpad debuted in Apple's MacBook Pros in late 2008 when the company ushered in a major redesign with unibody aluminum enclosures. Unlike previous MacBooks that had a dedicated button below the trackpad for clicking, the new MacBook Pro glass trackpad was the first to act as a single physical button and to also understand multi-touch gestures.

In addition to Jobs and Ive, other inventors credited in the patent are Bartley K. Andre, Daniel J. Coster, Daniele De luliis, Evans Hankey, Richard P. Howart, Duncan Robert Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas B. Satzger, Christopher J. Stringer, Eugene Antony Whang, and Rico Zorkendorfer.
post #2 of 25

FINALLY. I'm really getting sick of seeing Apple inventions lose patents they deserve. The glass trackpad is unlike anything that came before it, including the way you interact with it...

 

I mean has anyone even seen the trackpads that are still shipping on every other notebook in the world? It is beyond disgusting.

post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

I'm really getting sick of seeing Apple inventions lose patents they deserve...
...unlike anything that came before it, including the way you interact with it...

This is true of so many products it's amazing the other guys are still in business. Even if Apple can make a markup that is seen by some as unreasonable, there is still no competition. It's truly mind boggling sometimes.
post #4 of 25
I don't know how the PC guys are doing with their trackpad. So small and inefficient.
post #5 of 25
1. Wow, 15 people in total worked on this. From that London-design-award-goes-to-Ive-and-crew picture that seems almost to be the whole team, though I didn't heck the names.

2. Does Lenovo use the same config with glass and aluminium*?

* We've been over this
post #6 of 25

This is clear as mud (again).  Is it an ornamental patent or a trackpad design patent?  The title says one and the article implies the other.  

 

If it's a patent on the ornamental design of the MacBook Pro as it seems from the article that it is, then it can in no way actually be a patent on the glass trackpad which would be a design patent.  

 

This is pretty typical of your reporting on patents in general.  You might as well not report them and just post a link to some site that actually knows about patents and what this is all about.  

post #7 of 25
@Gazoobee

Don't you know journalism died when 'they invented the internet' ¿
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Palex19 View Post

I don't know how the PC guys are doing with their trackpad. So small and inefficient.

That's not true. Not all PCs have tiny touchpads. I have an HP laptop which has a very large touchpad - comparable in size to the MacBook Pro's touchpad.

It doesn't appear to be glass, so doesn't appear to be covered by Apple's patent, either.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #9 of 25

Appleinsider...please please please stop using the word "wins" with regards to patents. It's not a competition. You invent something, you apply for a patent. If the patent office is convinced that the invention is unique and novel it grants the patent. Otherwise it doesn't. Yet you continue to say "wins" in every single Apple patent headline.

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

This is pretty typical of your reporting on patents in general.  You might as well not report them and just post a link to some site that actually knows about patents and what this is all about.  

I agree. It's pretty clear that AI is pretty ignorant about patents in general.

post #11 of 25
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
It's not a competition.

 

That patents can be magically invalidated without cause after they have already been asserted to be legally valid in court leads me to believe "wins" is more appropriate than we'd think. 

"Just give 'em this one thing, Tony! They need 'da boost it brings!"

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply
post #12 of 25
Here's a comment actually relating to this patent: I have that original uni-body macbook and the original macbook air shortly before it. I have to admit I really dislike this patent's integrated button vs the separate original macair button. The integrated button is heavy, noisy has too much force required and doesn't work well at the corners. I have to go with enabling the virtual button which I don't like because of the increase of false clicks. I just recently got a new macbook air with the integrated button and it is still less optimal than the original air (and don't get me started about the new air's crappy TN screen!). However I love apple's big glass trackpads and multitouch and they are heads and tails better than the competition - but please bring back the button!
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by 21yr_mac_user View Post

Here's a comment actually relating to this patent: I have that original uni-body macbook and the original macbook air shortly before it. I have to admit I really dislike this patent's integrated button vs the separate original macair button. The integrated button is heavy, noisy has too much force required and doesn't work well at the corners. I have to go with enabling the virtual button which I don't like because of the increase of false clicks. I just recently got a new macbook air with the integrated button and it is still less optimal than the original air (and don't get me started about the new air's crappy TN screen!). However I love apple's big glass trackpads and multitouch and they are heads and tails better than the competition - but please bring back the button!


I think you're in the minority. I have the older style that was on the previous model of macbook pros for work and and my home computer is the first uni-body macbook pro. The buttonless trackpad is by far and away better in every way possible.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

1. Wow, 15 people in total worked on this. From that London-design-award-goes-to-Ive-and-crew picture that seems almost to be the whole team, though I didn't heck the names.
After Tim's org announcement I remember reading somewhere that the design team under Ive decided everyone's names would go on all design patents they receive.
post #15 of 25
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post
After Tim's org announcement I remember reading somewhere that the design team under Ive decided everyone's names would go on all design patents they receive.

 

Is that legal?

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #16 of 25

The trackpad took me a long time to get used to. I actually adapted quicker to that little rubber pencil eraser tip on an IBM Thinkpad.

 

Now I can't imagine using anything else. I find myself using my trackpad on my desktop more than the mouse.

 

It's ironic that Apple clung to a one-button mouse for years and then would later introduce trackpads with quite a few swiping and gesture controls.

post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

It's ironic that Apple clung to a one-button mouse for years and then would later introduce trackpads with quite a few swiping and gesture controls.

Ironic or evolutionary?
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

After Tim's org announcement I remember reading somewhere that the design team under Ive decided everyone's names would go on all design patents they receive.

I don't know whether this applies to design patents, but on a utility patent, adding the name of someone who is not involved can be used as reason to have the patent invalidated.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #19 of 25
Well this is of the top two mouses ever made, the second is the other mouse by apple currently vs mouses on laptop and desktops that have been seen for nearly 15 years.
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

That patents can be magically invalidated without cause after they have already been asserted to be legally valid in court leads me to believe "wins" is more appropriate than we'd think. 

"Just give 'em this one thing, Tony! They need 'da boost it brings!"


If you're this concerned, have you ever considered learning more about the topic of patent law?

post #21 of 25
http://www.google.ca/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromebook-pixel/

So how the **** is this ok?

"Glass touchpad
The feel and precision of a touchpad is one of the first things you notice about a laptop. Pixel%u2019s is made from etched glass, analyzed and honed using a laser microscope for exceptional smoothness and accuracy."
post #22 of 25
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post
So how the **** is this ok?

 

Recognizing something worth stealing is right down the ladder from making something worth stealing.

 

Granted, it's roughly three miles down, but…

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

http://www.google.ca/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromebook-pixel/

So how the **** is this ok?

"Glass touchpad
The feel and precision of a touchpad is one of the first things you notice about a laptop. Pixel%u2019s is made from etched glass, analyzed and honed using a laser microscope for exceptional smoothness and accuracy."


I'm not going to argue where they got that design idea as I think they're aping the macbook pro. Even then I think your outrage is nonsensical. If you click through to the link on the original article though, the cited portion has nothing to do with the engineering. This is from the link. What you cited was a description of the engineering and manufacturing filtered into cheesy (my opinion) marketing. If I recall correctly they had patents on the engineering aspects too, but those are a different matter. I would be surprised if it was a general claim to a glass and metal trackpad. No one on here would claim that, yet you're comparing it to a line that only mentions that point.

Quote:
Claims:
CLAIM

1. The ornamental design for a portable computer, as shown and described.
 
Description:

FIG. 1 is a top view of a portable computer showing our new design;

FIG. 2 is a top view of a second embodiment thereof;

FIG. 3 is a top view of a third embodiment thereof;

FIG. 4 is a top view of a fourth embodiment thereof;

FIG. 5 is a top view of a fifth embodiment thereof; and,

FIG. 6 is a top view of a sixth embodiment thereof.

The portion of the portable computer shown in gray shading in FIGS. 2, 4, and 6 represents a metallic surface. The dot-dash broken lines represent an unclaimed border of the claimed design. The dashed broken lines represent environmental subject matter that forms no part of the claimed design.

post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

This is clear as mud (again).  Is it an ornamental patent or a trackpad design patent?  The title says one and the article implies the other.  

 

If it's a patent on the ornamental design of the MacBook Pro as it seems from the article that it is, then it can in no way actually be a patent on the glass trackpad which would be a design patent.  

 

 

Great point about the article being vague.

 

However (and correct me if I'm wrong), I think you meant to say that "a patent on the glass trackpad would be a UTILITY patent."

 

In this case, the patent number starts with a "D", which means it's a Design (ornamental) patent... and such patents cannot include functionality. (That is what utility patents are for.)


Edited by KDarling - 6/9/13 at 6:36am
post #25 of 25
You are exactly right regarding utility and design patents.
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