The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of nineteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. Today's report covers an interesting yet eclectic mix of granted patents including one that credits the late, great Steve Jobs for the MacBook Air's design. Update: Will Apple use their MacBook Air design patents to challenge new Ultrabook challengers?
Apple Wins a Patent for Bend Switches for Wired Headsets
Apple has received a Granted Patent that relates to a "bend switch" that is incorporated into their "Earphones with Remote and Mic" headset. The headset features a small and unobtrusive profile with specific device controls such as adjust music volume, video playback or even answer or end calls on an iPhone.
Apple's FIG. 3A is a schematic view of the inner surface of an elongated body of a bend switch that includes several contact surfaces; patent FIG. 3B is a perspective view of an illustrative bend switch that includes elongated portions that both have several contact surfaces; patent FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an illustrative bend switch that includes a movable space member that is placed between the elongated bodies of the switch and that is constructed to allow a full range of bending orientations; patent FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an implementation of a bend switch in a stereo headset; patent FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an implementation of a bend switch in a mono headset; and finally, patent FIG. 12 which is a perspective view of an illustrative bend switch that incorporates a microphone.
Apple's First Patent Claim: A bend switch comprising: a first elongated body having a contact surface; a second elongated body having a contact surface, wherein the first and second elongated bodies are substantially co-linear and disposed a predetermined distance apart from each other, and the contact surfaces of the first and second bodies oppose each other; and a movable space member placed between the first and second elongated bodies and operative to maintain the predetermined distance; wherein at least one of the elongated bodies is operative to bend with respect to the other elongated body such that the contact surface of the first elongated body contacts the contact surface of the second elongated body to form an electrical coupling.
To review Apple's other 29 patent claims, see granted patent 8,116,503. Apple credits Eric Daniels, Evan Hankey, Daniele De Iuliis, Shin Nishibori and Peter Russell-Clarke as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q1 2007.
Apple Wins Patent for Active impact protection mechanism for MacBooks
Apple has received a Granted Patent relating to methods and systems for protecting a MacBook or any device with a hard disk drive from the destructive force of an impact.
Apple's First Patent Claim: Apparatus for cushioning an object against impact, comprising: a sensor for detecting an unrestrained change in position of the object; an electromechanical actuator having a first member affixed to a portion of the object, and a second member movable between a first position adjacent the first member and a second position further from the first member than the first position, wherein the first and second members are magnets, and wherein at least one of the magnets comprises an electromagnet; and a controller that is electrically coupled to the actuator and that is responsive to the sensor for activating the actuator by driving current through the at least one of the magnets that is an electromagnet to move the second member from the first position to the second position.
To review Apple's other 39 patent claims, see granted patent 8,113,494. Apple credits Ashwin Sunder as the sole inventor of this patent which was originally filed in Q3 2008. Just as Apple receives a patent for this invention, MacBooks may be shifting to Solid State Drives in the next year or two which will render this invention irrelevant.
Apple Wins Patent for a Display that Emits Circularly-Polarized Light
Apple has been granted a patent that generally relates to liquid crystal displays. More specifically, Apple's invention relates to a liquid crystal display that emits circularly-polarized light and thereby reduces perceived distortion when the display is viewed through linearly-polarizing filters such as polarized sunglasses. For more details on this patent, see our original March 2010 report covering this subject matter of Apple's use of a retardation film on certain iOS devices.
Apple's First Patent Claim: A method for manufacturing a display that emits circularly-polarized light, comprising: forming a display mechanism that emits linearly-polarized light; forming a layer that circularly polarizes light coupled to the display mechanism, wherein the layer that circularly polarizes light is configured to convert the linearly-polarized light emitted from the display mechanism to circularly-polarized light; and forming one or more a-plates coupled to the layer that circularly polarizes light; wherein the display reduces perceived distortion when the display is viewed through a linearly-polarizing filter.
To review Apple's other 12 patent claims, see granted patent 8,115,892. Apple credits John Zhong, Wei Chen, Cheng Chen, Victor Yin, and Shawn as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q1 2011.
Apple Wins a Patent for their Airplane Mode Indicator Found on iOS Devices
Apple has received a Granted Patent which relates to the "Airplane Mode" iOS device settings feature that could disable communications functions.
Apple's First Patent Claim: A computer-implemented method, comprising: at a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, displaying an airplane mode switch icon on the touch screen display, the airplane mode switch icon having an "on" position and an "off" position; displaying a communications signal strength icon on the touch screen display if the airplane mode switch icon is at the "off" position; and replacing the communications signal strength icon with an airplane icon upon detecting a movement of a finger contact with the touch screen display on or near the airplane mode switch icon, wherein the detected movement of the finger contact is from the "off" position to the "on" position, and wherein replacing the communications signal strength icon with the airplane icon includes: displaying an animated movement of the airplane icon on the touch screen display towards the communications signal strength icon; displaying an animated movement of the airplane icon over the communications signal strength icon; and ceasing to display the communications signal strength icon.
To review Apple's other 21patent claims, see granted patent 8,116,807. Apple credits Michael Matas as the inventor of this patent which was originally filed in Q4 2007.
The Late CEO Steve Jobs Credited for MacBook Air Design
Apple has been granted their sixth design patent for the MacBook Air since September 2009. The late CEO Steve Jobs is listed as one of those credited for the design.
Update: It should also be noted today that that a new report posted by TUAW states that Apple is forcing Pegatron to stop production of a MacBook Air lookalike called the Zenbook. It sure doesn't hurt having serveral recent design patents in your back pocket to make the point that someone is infringing on your design. You have to wonder if apple is now going to begin legal action against the new wave of MacBook Air copycats in the wings. I guess if Apple is paying for a battery of lawyers to file the patent filings, they may as well use them to enforce them as well. Time will tell.
Apple credits the late CEO Steve Jobs along with VP of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive and team members Bartley Andre, Daniel Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Evans Hankey, Richard Howarth, Duncan Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas Satzger, Christopher Stringer, Eugene Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer as the inventors of Granted Patent D654,072, originally filed in Q3 2011.
Final Patent Round-Up
Over and above the granted patents that were specifically reported on today, we present you with links to all of the other granted patents in our Final Patent Round-Up as follows:
8,117,228 – Head-to-head comparisons
Apple invented an Apple Store computer price comparisons chart/form that was designed to allow members of the Mac Community to enter in prices of competing products form the likes of Dell, HP, Acer and others as noted in the patent figure above. It's an idea that has yet to surface.
8,116,586 - Estimating and removing distortion from an image
Apple's invention relates to their now defunct "Shake" application feature that dealt with video processing and in particular to lens distortion removal. More than likely this feature has since been rolled into Apple's Final Cut Pro X Application in some capacity.
8,115,825 - Electronic device with two image sensors. The patent relates and details Apple's iSight camera in a MacBook having two cameras (one black and white and the other being color).
8,117,404 - Misalignment predictor
Apple's invention is related to the field of processors and, more particularly, to handling misaligned memory operations in processors.
8,117,651 - Method and system for authenticating an accessory
Apple's invention relates generally to electrical devices and more particularly to electronic devices such as media players that communicate with accessory.
8,117,548 - Image preview
Apple's invention relates generally to electronic displays, and, more particularly, to a method, apparatus, and system for providing an image preview of a data set.
8,117,309 - Re-download management of previously acquired digital media assets
Apple's invention relates to download of digital media assets and, more particularly, to re-download of previously acquired digital media assets.
8,117,260 - Method and apparatus for listening for incoming calls on multiple port/socket combinations
Apple's invention relates to the field of use of teleconferencing systems. More particularly, the present invention relates to the dynamic launching of teleconferencing applications upon receipt of a call.
8,116,703 - Wireless transmitter calibration using device receiver
Apple's invention relates generally to wireless communications circuitry, and more particularly, to calibrating wireless communications circuitry to allow reduced power consumption.
8,117,038 - Universal container for audio data
8,116,179 - Simultaneous viewing of multiple tool execution results
8,116,133 - Maintenance operations for multi-level data storage cells
8,116,057 - Data port transient protection apparatus and methods
8,115,773- Serializing command streams for graphics processors
Notice: Going forward, Patently Apple won't be listing "Apple's First Patent Claim" to each of the key granted patents that we cover weekly.
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
Here are a Few Sites covering our Original Report: MacSurfer, iSpazio Italy, Twitter, Facebook, Apple Investor News, Google Reader, Macnews, iPhone World Canada, MarketWatch, iDownloadBlog, FayerWayer Chile, Webwereld Netherlands, Computer Totaal Netherlands, Appunti Digitali Italy, Saggiamente Italy, Mashable, MacWorld Netherlands, Maximum Tech, TechGenius Italy, AKAScope, Yahoo! News, Redmond Pie, CNET, and more.