Apple has been granted a new design patent that could cause problems for competing ultrabook makers.
Apple’s patent focuses on the overall shape of the MacBook Air, meaning that any competing ultrabook makers that produce a wedge or teardrop shaped laptop similar to that of Apple’s could be infringing the broad patent.
The patent document does not have much text, and is largely described through illustrations, giving Apple a huge advantage of an even broader laptop design.
The Verge points out that the bottom feet, hinge and back are not claimed in the patent, and therefore any shape or size of these components from competing ultrabooks has a risk of infringement.
This week, Intel provided a glimpse into the future of ultrabooks, saying the next big thing for the emerging class of thin and light laptops is natural interaction through sight, sound and touch. If these future ultrabooks implement a similar design to Apple’s MacBook it could cause several lawsuits between technology giants.
Earlier in May, HP was accused of copying Apple’s MacBook Air with its new Envy Spectre XT, but Stacy Wolff, vice president of design at HP, said that the company didn’t choose similar features to the MacBook Air for the Envy Spectre because Apple did it first. “It’s just where the form factor is leading it,” he said. However, this new patent win could cause trouble for HP if Apple decides to start taking action against other companies.