The US Patent and Trademark Office has gone and awarded Apple the design patent for US Patent D670,286. The patent covers the rounted rectangle shape of the iPad and was awarded to Apple on Tuesday this week.
It's not the first time Apple has taken a basic shape to the patent office though, as with their previous attempt on US Patent D504,889 which it used against Samsung recently, which was a bit of a pass/fail attempt if there ever was one, but of course most of the legal bodies in the world saw Apple off and sent them packing, thankfully.
So what does this patent mean for Apple? Well very little actually, but it's not going to stop them trying to wield it like a giant sword in their never ending legal battles with the rest of the business world. Since the patent covers the rectangular shape of the iPad, including specifically its rounded corners and proportions, it means Apple can now claim companies have copied the basic design of the iPad should any of them attempt to make anything vaguely similar. It's said that it might not do Apple much use though, short of clone devices that are in the exact shape, size and general dimentions of the actual iPad. Put short, the legal systems will likely tell Apple to go away should they wave this one in Samsung's face.
This could go two ways, one is that it will help Apple know exactly what an iPad infringement is and will make a clear cut case to prevent it happening in the future, or they will demand that anything with a rounded corner rectangle that is in existence be burned and deemed "un holy" in the name of Apple. OK I'm joking a lot here, but it's frightening that I might not be far off the mark, you know they'll at least try.