Apple is awarded a patent for iconic trackpad design

By on January 16, 2013, 8:30 AM

Apple was recently awarded a design patent – US D674,382 – covering their infamous trackpad found on their entire line of notebooks. The patent specifically covers how the trackpad looks when housed on a portable computer; it has nothing to do with how the trackpad functions.

The Verge notes how it’s pretty broad in terms of design patents but there are some specifics that are mentioned. For example, the patent makes it clear that only the trackpad and the adjacent boundary lines of the notebook are displayed with solid lines. Other specifics include the use of glass as a building material, a common trait among Apple trackpads.

Even with glass mentioned, it’s important to understand that Apple didn’t get a patent for all glass trackpads. As the publication correctly points out, other manufacturers could build similar trackpads but implement buttons above or below the trackpad. Other options could include changing the amount of space between the pad and the front edge of the notebook or the pad and the bottom of the spacebar key.

Interestingly enough, the patent shows multiple different trackpads. A few versions are shown with a metallic surface covering the trackpad while some are free of any coating. I guess if you are filing a patent, it’s best to cover as many bases as possible which is what Apple has seemingly done in that department. Even still, it’s relatively easy to get around a specific patent with just a tiny bit of creativity.




User Comments: 16

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1 person liked this | ShadowDeath said:

Really... they decide to file a patent for a stupid track pad that's been on every laptop since Nineteen dickity two?... Patton troll much Apple?

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Just what Apple needs, another bogus patent so they can sue rather than compete.

Staff
Jos Jos said:

They didn't patent trackpad technology itself, only their specific design. That's not to defend Apple or the patent system, which could use a reform to stop companies abusing it, but truth be told I've never used a Windows laptop with a trackpad that even comes close to Apple's in terms of quality, responsiveness and feel.

2 people like this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

They didn't patent trackpad technology itself, only their specific design. That's not to defend Apple or the patent system, which could use a reform to stop companies abusing it, but truth be told I've never used a Windows laptop with a trackpad that even comes close to Apple's in terms of quality, responsiveness and feel.

And I've never used an Apple laptop that even comes close to any Windows model in terms of quality, responsiveness feel & price.

Staff
Jos Jos said:

@Skidmarksdeluxe good for you! It's a free market so obviously you can choose whatever suits your needs. I was referring to the trackpad specifically since that's what the story is about.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

..and I'll say that if it wasn't for Apple constantly pushing better tech in their products, we wouldn't have that "...Windows model in terms of quality, responsiveness feel & price."

Having that that..I hate apple for personal reasons and at this point, I don't use any of their products.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

Good. I hate how the left (and right, if you like your life easier) buttons aren't dedicated.

And can you even tap-to-click with those? Last time I used one, I had to click and didn't bother checking......

2 people like this | Blue Falcon said:

I've never used a trackpad that didn't make me angry and want to throw a laptop into the trash can when doing serious work on the laptop. Mouse + short-cut keys >>>> trackpad for people who use their computer for real work. Trackpad is for casuals.

Pan Wah said:

I've never used a trackpad that didn't make me angry and want to throw a laptop into the trash can when doing serious work on the laptop. Mouse + short-cut keys >>>> trackpad for people who use their computer for real work. Trackpad is for casuals.

Too right, squire!

MilwaukeeMike said:

I like the casual defense of Apple in the story... 'it?s important to understand that Apple didn?t get a patent for all glass trackpads' and 'I guess if you are filing a patent, it?s best to cover as many bases as possible which is what Apple has seemingly done in that department. Even still, it?s relatively easy to get around a specific patent with just a tiny bit of creativity."

It's almost like the author knows posting this story is like dropping live bait into a piranha tank. Either that or the TS office uses Apple.

Since we're taking a survey, the trackpad on my work laptop (Dell) is pretty much only useful for giving you the illusion that you can control your PC with it. However, the trackpad on my old eee PC Asus Netbook was perfect. You could scroll and use gestures on it, and I never had to plug in a mouse.

spectrenad said:

They didn't patent trackpad technology itself, only their specific design. That's not to defend Apple or the patent system, which could use a reform to stop companies abusing it, but truth be told I've never used a Windows laptop with a trackpad that even comes close to Apple's in terms of quality, responsiveness and feel.

And I've never used an Apple laptop that even comes close to any Windows model in terms of quality, responsiveness feel & price.

My Asus RoG trackpad is way better than anything apple has.

1 person liked this | St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Right-clicking on Apple trackpads turns me into the hulk.

avoidz avoidz said:

Here we go again.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I have to admit (even though it galls me) the the Apple trackpad is is a lot better than some of the trackpads used by other manufacturers.

..and I'll say that if it wasn't for Apple constantly pushing better tech in their products, we wouldn't have that "...Windows model in terms of quality, responsiveness feel & price."

Having that that..I hate apple for personal reasons and at this point, I don't use any of their products.

I couldn't agree more, especially with your last paragraph.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Right-clicking on Apple trackpads turns me into the hulk.

How do you right click? I used a Powerbook for years which was before Apple had figured out gestures and multitouch, and the only way to right click was to 'Option+Click'. On the 'clickpads' though you just push down with 2 fingers rather than 1 (Option+Click still works if you must), in the transition it took me about 10 seconds to 'get used to it'. Is it just the clicking by depressing the trackpad that is the problem for you?

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

How do you right click? I used a Powerbook for years which was before Apple had figured out gestures and multitouch, and the only way to right click was to 'Option+Click'. On the 'clickpads' though you just push down with 2 fingers rather than 1 (Option+Click still works if you must), in the transition it took me about 10 seconds to 'get used to it'. Is it just the clicking by depressing the trackpad that is the problem for you?

Yeah, I was referring to the two finger gesture. This, coupled with the mechanical action, is what gets me I guess.

Also I find that it freaks out if I leave one finger on the bottom of the pad to act as a 'clicker' and navigate with the other finger. Pointer stops moving, as it thinks I'm zooming etc.

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