An Aspen, Colorado resident has filed a lawsuit against Apple and retailer Target that claims the company's Smart Cover infringes on a patent he owns. Jerald Bovino filed for the "portable computer case" patent in mid-2003 which was later issued in late 2005, roughly six years before Cupertino released the iPad 2 and accompanying Smart Cover.

Bovino is seeking compensation from Apple and Target, citing that he has been damaged as a result of the plaintiff's infringement.

The trouble with Bovino's claim is that his portable computer case is essentially a laptop bag whereas the iPad Smart Cover, well, isn't. Apple's solution isn't a bag at all and simply covers the front screen, connecting to the device via an array of magnets.

Paid Content points to a series of ribs highlighted in the patent drawing from Bovino. The iPad Smart Cover uses a similar set of ribs but the publication points out that this doesn't mean it is infringing.

Upon further inspection, Bovino's patent says the ribs are designed to protect a computer from wear and tear during transporting and use. The ribs in the Smart Cover allow the device to flex and fold, not specifically for protection or shock absorption.

Given Apple's wealth of intellectual property, seemingly endless cash and the sheer difference between the Smart Cover and Bovino's patent, it's tough to see how he could come out ahead in this dispute. Just last week, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted 25 patents to Apple including one for the iPad Smart Cover.