The United States Patent and Trademark Organisation (USPTO) today granted Apple a design patent for the first generation iPhone’s “ornamental design,” known to be a key turning point in the dynamics of the mobile industry.
Amongst the inventors of the design are former CEO Steve Jobs and Apple’s present design chief Jony Ive, both of whom were known to obsessively discuss the finest of the details of the device’s physical design, as documented in Steve Jobs’ biography.
Since 2007, the iPhone has seen some major design changes, however, the basic minimal design—a large touchscreen with no hardware keyboard—has remained largely the same, and propagated through the entire smartphone industry.
In his iPhone introduction keynote in 2007, Steve Jobs noted that Apple had patented a lot of what went into the iPhone, including the revolutionary multi-touch technology, the interface itself and of course the physical design.
Design patents protect the looks of a product, as opposed to utility patents, which protect the functionality. A design patent prevents third-parties from making products that are “substantially similar” in looks to the patented item.
The entire patent can be viewed here.
Via: Patently Apple