Ultrabook makers fear design patent lawsuits from Apple - report

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 75
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 75
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,432member


    They should be afraid. Very Afraid.


     


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

  • Reply 3 of 75
    jmgregory1jmgregory1 Posts: 452member


    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.

  • Reply 4 of 75

    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

  • Reply 5 of 75
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member


    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.

  • Reply 6 of 75
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    [QUOTE]Ultrabook makers fear design patent lawsuits from Apple - report[/QUOTE]

    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.
  • Reply 7 of 75
    dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member

    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.

  • Reply 8 of 75
    hezetationhezetation Posts: 674member

    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.

  • Reply 9 of 75
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member


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

  • Reply 10 of 75
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member


    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. 



  • Reply 11 of 75
    gxcadgxcad Posts: 120member


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

  • Reply 12 of 75
    kpomkpom Posts: 616member


    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.

     

  • Reply 13 of 75
    rajaramrajaram Posts: 16member


    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).

  • Reply 14 of 75


    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.

  • Reply 15 of 75
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,185member
    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? ;-)
  • Reply 16 of 75
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,739member
    apple ][ wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 75
    iyfcalviniyfcalvin Posts: 61member


    duplicate post

     

  • Reply 18 of 75
    iyfcalviniyfcalvin Posts: 61member

    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.

  • Reply 19 of 75
    tooltalktooltalk Posts: 766member


    Has Apple ever won any design patent lawsuit?

  • Reply 20 of 75
    bullheadbullhead Posts: 493member

    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.

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