Friday, April 27, 2012

Apple and Target sued for iPad Smart Cover patent infringement

Apple's iPad 2 / new iPad smart cover may not be so smart after all. A Colorado man has sued the company, saying that the design violates his 2005 patent for a “Portable Computer Case.”

Aspen, Colorado resident Jerald Bovino filed the lawsuit in federal court. It asks both Apple and mega-retailer Target to pay royalties for using his technology. The lawsuit places Target in the cross-hairs because the retailer sells the smart cover, but so do a number of other retailers.

In fact, a number of other smart cover knock-offs are available, too.

Bovino's patent was awarded in Dec. 2005; he filed for it in mid-2003. The summary of US patent 6,977,809 says that the design is for a ruggedized case, one that also includes a strap for carrying the device.

A look at the images from the patent (shown) would seem to point to the ribs on the Smart Cover as being the most obvious similarity. The patent says that the case has:

"... a plurality of resilient ribs positioned on said exterior surface of said case wherein said resilient ribs protects said computer from wear and tear during the transporting and use of the computer."

ClamCase All-in-One Keyboard Case & Stand
Aside from that, Bovino's case sounds significantly different from the Smart Cover, which protects only the screen side of the iPad 2 and new iPad, and attaches via magnets. As the cover is lifted off the front of the iPad, the tablet turns on.

Interestingly, it was reported earlier this week that Apple had been awarded a design patent for the Smart Cover.

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