Ultrabook makers are “facing threats from Apple” and its MacBook Air design patents, according to reports.

In June, Apple was granted a new design patent that broadly covers the teardrop or wedge design of the MacBook Air.

DigiTimes claims that sources from the upstream supply chain have said that some vendors are hesitating in their ultrabook plans, and are investing more time in research and development in order to avoid violating the design patents owned by Apple.

These sources said that Intel could be suggesting design ideas to PC makers planning to release an ultrabook in 2013. These ideas include 3D displays, HD interfaces, and touchscreen control.

Intel has also developed a new manufacturing method enabling the cost to be reduced by 65 per cent, the report claims.

Apple is already suing several manufacturers over the design of smartphones and tablets, claiming that they infringe one of the many patents owned by the company but has yet to come down hard on MacBook Air rival makers. (See who’s suing Apple this week)

In May, PC maker HP was quizzed about the similarities between its Envy Spectre XT ultrabook and Apple’s MacBook Air. In response, HP’s vice president Stacy Wolff said: “I think if you look at the new Spectre XT, there are similarities in a way, not due to Apple but due to the way technology has developed. Apple may like to think that they own silver, but they don’t. In no way did HP try to mimic Apple. In life there are a lot of similarities.”

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