Apple is arguably one of the most innovative companies in the history of the technological world, and it is this innovation that requires protection from competitors attempting to replicate it, or downright copy it – I’m looking at you Samsung! Today, Apple expands their patent portfolio for their glass-on-metal trackpad design that we’ve all become accustom to on our laptops and trackpads.
U.S. Patent No. D674382, simply entitled Portable Computer, was granted to Apple by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Its illustrations show the “ornamental design for a portable computer,” and included among its inventors are Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and chief designer Jony Ive.
In addition to Jobs and Ive, other inventors credited in the patent are Bartley K. Andre, Daniel J. Coster, Daniele De luliis, Evans Hankey, Richard P. Howart, Duncan Robert Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas B. Satzger, Christopher J. Stringer, Eugene Antony Whang, and Rico Zorkendorfer.
The patent dates back to 2008, when the all new trackpad was introduced in the MacBook and MacBook Pro with the new metal unibody design. The trackpad itself was the first of its kind, removing the physical buttons from below the trackpad and instead incorporating touch sequences right into the trackpad itself.
The trackpad laid the foundation for what we have today: first the magic-mouse, then the touchpad, together with a whole array of multitouch gestures built right into the trackpad and supported by Apple’s software to revolutionise the user experience when interacting with Apps.
The design has attempted to be replicated amongst many OEM’s over the years and the grant of this patent is a step in the right direction to give the inventors of the trackpad the credit they deserve for such a revolutionary, but simple, piece of hardware, which has changed the way we interact with our laptops forever.