The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 15 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today which included design patents for the iPod armband and MacBook Pro. The other notables within this group include one relating to updating playlists, another relating to connector receptacle housings and one relating to GarageBand. While there are a number of other interesting granted patents today, perhaps the most important is one relating to the iPod's Hybrid Button: a patent that Apple may be able to enforce on copy cat iPod OEMs going forward.
Granted Design Patent: 3G iPod nano Armband
Apple credits Bartley Andre, Daniel Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Evans Hankey, 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 Patent D623, 404, originally filed in Q 2009 (though it also has an earlier filing of Sept 2007 which makes more sense).
Granted Design Patents: MacBook Pro & Power Plug
Apple won a design patent for all sizes of the MacBook Pro back in March 2010. Today's design patent D623,645 marks the second win of the year. Apple credits CEO Steve Jobs, Bartley Andre, Daniel Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Evans Hankey, Richard Howarth, Jonathan Ive, Duncan Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas Satzger, Christopher Stringer, Eugene Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer as the inventors of this patent.
Apple credits Jody Akana and the same team noted above (minus Apple's CEO) for granted patent D623,594, originally filed in Q4 2009. The noted design for a "Power Plug" may or may not be the Power Plug associated with the Mac Mini – though the design is a lot smoother.
Granted Patent: the iPod's Hybrid Button
Apple has won a major patent for the iPod's hybrid button. The patent states that the button could include a metal or other non-plastic portion having a reverse flange and a plastic portion including anti-rotation legs. The legs could prevent rotation at least in part because they are retained by another structure. The plastic portion could be injection-molded onto the reverse flange of the metal or non-plastic portion. As such, the reverse flange fixes the position of the plastic portion with respect to the metal portion. Finally, the metal portion could include an actuator nub that actuates a switch when the button is depressed.
Apple's invention is noted to go beyond just the iPod to cover devices including cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), video games, radios, MP3 players, CD players, DVD players, televisions, game players, cameras, etc.
Apple credits Douglas Weber, Pinida Moolsintong and Stephen Zadesky as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,795,553 originally filed in Q3 2006.
Granted Patent: Connector Receptacle Housings having Reduced-Wear Finger Contacts and Reduced Seam Visibility
Apple has won a patent that relates to structures, methods, and apparatus that provide connector receptacles that have a reduced tendency to scratch and otherwise mar connector inserts, have an aesthetically-pleasing appearance, and have an improved tactile response when inserts are inserted. Various examples reduce scratches and wear by utilizing domes, cylinders, balls, or other structures as finger contacts in a connector receptacle. Another example provides aesthetically-pleasing connector receptacle enclosures by forming receptacle enclosures using the same type of material, or material having the same or similar color or texture, as is used for enclosing the electronic device that includes the receptacle. Another example provides an aesthetically-pleasing receptacle enclosure by forming receptacle enclosures that are, in part or in whole, contiguous or formed with the housing.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 shown above illustrates a computer system that is improved by the incorporation of embodiments of the present invention. This figure shows an example of a computer system 100 that includes a Mac Pro tower 110, Cinema Display, 120, keyboard 130, and mouse 140. The Cinema Display, keyboard and mouse may connect to the Mac Pro via cables. For example, the Cinema Display is shown as being connected to the Mac Pro tower via cable 167. The keyboard, mouse and other devices may be connected to the Mac Pro via cables such as cable 157.
Cables 157 and 167 could include connector insert housings 155 and 160. Insert housings 155 and 160 allow a user to hold the end of the cable and insert a connector insert, such as connector insert 150, into connector receptacle 170 on the Mac Pro.
Embodiments of the present invention may be employed to improve connector receptacles such as connector receptacles 165 and 170. These connector receptacles may be compatible with USB, FireWire, DisplayPort, Ethernet, and other types of signaling and power transmission standards. These connector receptacles may be compatible with proprietary signaling and power transmission technologies. Also, as new signaling and power transmission standards and proprietary technologies are developed, embodiments of the present invention may be used to improve connector receptacles consistent with those standards and technologies. The connector receptacles may be located on computer enclosures, such as the Mac Pro or other enclosures, such as those used for the iMac, the MacBook, the iPad, the iPod touch, iPhone or other devices including a netbook computer, states the patent.
Apple credits Min Kim, Greg Springer, Joshua Funamura and Stewart Fields as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,794,263 originally filed in Q3 2009.
Granted Patent: Off-Stage Control of On-Stage Digital Audio Processing
Apple's patent and invention relates to audio systems, and particular, to audio system playback to an audience during a live musical performance.
Apple's patent FIGS. 1A and 1B are diagrams of an audio system that connects microphones and instruments to a mixer via a stage-box and a composite cord running from the stage-box through an audience area to a mixer.
The Main Patent Claim: A system for generating audio output from a plurality of audio input devices, comprising: a digital processing stage-box comprising a processor, said digital processing stage-box configured to: receive audio input from a plurality audio input devices of said plurality of audio input devices, perform digital processing of said audio input, and generate audio output for simultaneous playback of said plurality of audio input devices based on said digital processing; and a plurality of electronic devices corresponding to said plurality of audio input devices and connected to said digital processing stage-box via a network, wherein each electronic device of said electronic devices is configured: with a user interface that receives user input that indicates how to perform said digital processing for the audio input of said corresponding audio input device, and based on said user input, transmit via said network, control messages that indicate how to perform said digital processing for the audio input of said corresponding audio input device to said digital processing stage-box, wherein each of the plurality of electronic devices communicates directly with said digital processing stage-box.
Apple credits Gerhard Lengeling and Nikolaus Gerteis as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,797,066, originally filed in Q4 2006.
Other Granted Patents (GP) Published Today
GP - 7,797,446 - Method and system for updating playlists
GP - 7,797,462 - Method and apparatus for communicating with an embedded controller which includes a reference to metadata objects
GP - 7,797,471 - Method and system for transferring album artwork between a media player and an accessory
GP - 7,797,643 - Live content resizing
GP - 7,797,670 - Mirrored file system
GP - 7,797,633 - Streaming to media device during acquisition with random access
GP - 7,797,242 - Method and system for network-based purchase and distribution of media
GP - 7,796,693 - Search algorithms for using related decode and display timelines
GP - 7,796,139 - Methods and apparatus for displaying a frame with contrasting text
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. For additional information on any granted patent noted above that is not directly linked, simply feed the individual patent number(s) provided, minus the "GP" suffix (if present) into this search engine. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.