SIGH. After years of speculation, the US Patent and Trademark Office on Wednesday actually issued a design patent to Apple for rectangular devices with rounded corners.
It seems that Samsung's worst nightmare has come true, as the patent, D670,286 covers a "portable display device" and literally appears to give Apple the rights to a rectangle with rounded corners. In basic terms, this means Apple pretty much now owns the rights to the rectangle in the US.
The patent was approved after an examination of prior art, Ars Technica reports, which looked at devices such as digital photo frames and early tablets from HP.
While Apple must be mighty pleased with itself, we don't think Samsung needs to worry just yet, as it's such a vague patent that it will be almost impossible for Apple to enforce. Apple has already used a similar patent, D504,889 in its legal battles against Samsung, with mixed success.
However, this new patent is backed up by several technical drawings of Apple's Ipad tablet, so it might be easier for the firm to sue other companies that bring out similarly shaped devices. Legal experts don't think Apple will have much success with its new patent though, unless it goes after Ipad knock-off tablets.
Apple has yet to respond to our request for comment.
God help us all. µ