The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 17 granted patents for Apple Inc. today. Amongst them are several major design patent wins pertaining to the original iPod touch and the all-metallic iMac which has received registered status in both Europe and China. Yet the most notable granted patents issued today in our opinion would have to be one that relates to Apple's notebook trackpad assembly and perhaps more importantly, two strategic patents relating to the notion of a future telephonic MacBook.
Granted Patent: 3G for a Future MacBook
In August 2010 Patently Apple presented you with a report concerning a "Telephonic MacBook." In today's round of granted patents, we find that there are two new patents that support a future telephonic Macbook. In the first granted patent titled "Antennas for wireless electronic devices," we see the door open for 3G or future LTE to be built-into a MacBook. The patent first points to 3G for a notebook and then states that "cellular telephone communications could be handled using a multiband cellular telephone antenna and local area network data communications could be handled using a multiband wireless local area network antenna.
Apple's Patent Abstract: Antenna window structures and antennas are provided for electronic devices. The electronic devices may be laptop computers or other devices that have conductive housings. Antenna windows can be formed from dielectric members. The dielectric members can have elastomeric properties. An antenna may be mounted inside a conductive housing beneath a dielectric member. The antenna could be formed from a parallel plate waveguide structure. The parallel plate waveguide structure may have a ground plate and a radiator plate and may have dielectric material between the ground and radiator plates. The ground plate can have a primary ground plate portion and a ground strip. The ground strip may reflect radio-frequency signals so that they travel through the dielectric member. The antenna may handle radio-frequency antenna signals in one or more communications bands. The radio-frequency antenna signals pass through the dielectric member.
Apple credits Bing Chiang, Douglas Kough, Enrique Ayala Vazquez, Eduardo Lopez and Gregory Springer as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,804,453 originally filed in Q2 2008. Douglas Kough also worked on the telephonic MacBook that we reported on in August and in the next patent presented below.
Granted Patent: Antenna-Carrying Assembly
This second Apple patent discusses an antenna-carrying assembly which relates to various wireless modes including CDMA2000. While Apple may have implemented this technology into their iPhone first, the actual context of the patent's background is about a PC card for a notebook. As noted earlier in this report, the technology behind a future telephonic MacBook is beginning to mount.
Apple's patent abstract: An antenna-carrying assembly for facilitating wireless communication using an electronic device is disclosed. The antenna-carrying assembly may include a body and one or more antenna elements carried by the body. The antenna-carrying assembly may also include a first attraction element carried by the body. The first attraction element is configured to magnetically couple the antenna-carrying assembly with a track and to slide along the track. At least one of the first attraction element and the track includes one or more magnetic elements.
Noted above, antenna-carrying assembly 120 of patent FIG. 4A may include a shunt 464 insert-molded inside body 425 of the antenna-carrying assembly. The shunt may be configured to augment/tune the magnetic field of first attraction element 421. The shunt may also be configured to secure the first attraction element through magnetic coupling, such that the first attraction element may be secured in holding structure 441 without relying on complicated fastening devices (such as a screw) or complicated fastening structures (such as a dovetail or groove). Advantageously, manufacturing of the antenna-carrying assembly may be simplified. Between the first attraction element and shunt 464, glue or adhesive may be applied to reinforce the coupling. Patent FIG. 4C illustrates a cross-sectional view of electronic device 150 with the antenna-carrying assembly in the stowed state
Apple credits Brett Degner, Chris Ligtenberg, Bartley Andre and Douglas Kough as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,804,463 originally filed in Q3 2007.
Granted Patent: MacBook Housing, Touch Pad
Apple has won a patent for improved housing for their notebooks which dates back to 2001. Although the MacBook housing has changed dramatically since then, the fact is that this patent is part of the MacBook's evolutionary process. According to Apple, the improved housing is provided with one of an illuminable connector, a touch pad arrangement, and a palm rest stiffening plate. Normally, the illuminable connector and the touch pad arrangement are provided on external portions of a housing of the computing device such that they are available for user interaction. The palm rest stiffening plate is provided internal to a housing to provide stiffness or rigidity to a palm rest region of the housing.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 illustrates an illuminable connector arranged on a notebook FIG.1. Apple's patent FIG 4B is a diagram of a side view and a perspective view of a touch pad system. Apple credits Thomas Acampora and Kevin Fetterman as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,804,487 originally filed in Q4 2001.
Granted Design Patents: iMac
This has certainly been the year for design wins for the iMac. Apple was granted patents for the iMac in the US back in June and February 2010. And now, the iMac has been "registered" in China and in Europe. In China, the iMac could be found in six wins under numbers 1000647.4M001 through to 1000647.4M006. In Europe the iMac designs could be found in eight designs from 001208177-0001 through to 0008.
Apple credits Jody Akana, Bartley Andre, Jeremy Bataillou, Daniel Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Evans Hankey, Richard Howarth, Jonathan Ive, Duncan Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Christopher Stringer, Eugene Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer as the inventors of the registered iMac designs in Europe which were published on Sept 24, 2010 and filed for in April of this year.
Granted Design Patent: the Original iPod Touch
Apple credits CEO Steve Jobs, Bartley Andre, Daniel Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Richard Howarth, Jonathan Ive, Duncan Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas Satzger, Calvin Seid, Vincent Keane, Christopher Stringer, Eugene Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer as the inventors of granted design patent D624,536 for the original iPod touch which was filed in Q3 2007.
Apple has also won two additional design patents this morning including one for the iPhone's calendar UI under D624,555 and another for the Nike + iPod UI for the iPod touch under D624,556.
Other Granted Patents (GP) Published Today
GP - 7,804,508 - Viewing digital images on a display using a virtual loupe
GP - 7,804,025 - Compact magnetic cable noise suppressor
GP - 7,804,428 - System and method for compressing a stream of integer-valued data
GP - 7,804,721 - Enqueue event first-in, first-out buffer (FIFO)
GP - 7,804,897 - Method for implementing an improved quantizer in a multimedia compression and encoding system
GP - 7,805,403 - Synchronization methods and systems
GP - 7,805,464 - Web viewer setup dialog and grammar for generating web addresses
GP - 7,805,678 - Editing within single timeline
GP - 7,805,685 - Method and apparatus for displaying a gain control interface with non-linear gain levels
GP - 7,805,727 - Execution control for processor tasks
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or Issued Patent should be read in its entirety for further details. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.