27 Patents Awarded to Apple, Includes New Laptop Design

Tuesday’s list of issued patents published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office includes 27 patents assigned to Cupertino, California device manufacturer Apple Inc. Each week, Apple is awarded a few patents that pertain to their electronic devices or computer systems. This week, Apple was awarded a new design patent for its laptops, as well as patents protecting methods of either creating more rugged touchscreens or finding useful social network recommendations through data analysis.

Here are a few of those recent Apple patents that caught my attention. For more news relating to Apple patents and published patent applications please see our other articles, which can be found at: http://www.ipwatchdog.com/tag/apple-patents/


Portable Computer
U.S. Patent No. D674382

This most recent design patent issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office describes a series of design modifications to Apple’s line of laptop computers, including the device manufacturer’s MacBook and PowerBook models. Claim 1 of this patent protects, “the ornamental design for a portable computer, as shown and described.”

All patented design changes pertain to the layout of the keyboard and trackpad on the laptop’s lower housing. A few different design embodiments are protected in this issued patent; patent diagrams that have a shaded area containing the laptop’s trackpad indicate a metallic surface. As with last week batch of issued patents, Former-CEO and device industry guru Steve Jobs is credited as an inventor on this patent filed in March 2012, months after his passing the previous October.



User to User Recommender
U.S. Patent No. 8356038

Online social interaction relies on real-life knowledge of the person or entity a user chooses to interact with. This recent patent outlines a system of recommending connections between different members of social networks based on user data. In given examples, different data about a user’s choices for music, literature, movies and other media could be compiled and analyzed to find other users with similar affinities.

Schematic images of the user analysis system indicate that it depends heavily upon the metrics of affinity between user data and discovery of new, relevant data. This would benefit social networking users who provide a plurality of information, thus making them more visible to the system of analysis.

As claim 1 of this patent explains, this patent protects:

A method for recommending users in a user community to a target user, the method comprising: selecting a target user within the user community; selecting a user set within the user community excluding the target user; comparing a user profile for the target user with user profiles for each of the users in the user set to assess similarity of the target user profile to each of the other users’ profiles as a proxy for compatibility of the corresponding users; and generating a recommended set of compatible users for the target user responsive to the comparing step, wherein the recommended set of compatible users comprises at least one user within the selected user set; and further wherein the target user’s profile comprises a target user media item set [IS] and a target user recommended media item set [RS]; the user profiles for each of the users in the user set comprises a corresponding user media item set and a corresponding user recommended media item set; and each recommended media item set is generated by providing the corresponding user’s media item set as input to a computer-implemented recommender system, wherein the computer-implemented recommender system generates the recommended media item set based on a predetermined knowledge base stored in memory that contains concurrency metrics among collections of mediasets, the concurrency metrics associating each media item in the user’s media item set with at least one media item in the recommended media item set.


Techniques for Authentication via Network Connections
U.S. Patent No. 8356335

Properly authenticating the identity of all parties engaged in activities requiring data transmission between users is a great safeguard against security threats. Especially with online transactions, authenticating users ensures that automated programs or hackers can’t view private data, like credit card or social security numbers.

This Apple patent protects a system of authentication at the network interface level. Malicious software can monitor a network interface to listen in on network connection requests, such as occur when purchasing a product from a business website. Once a legitimate connection request has been intercepted, the malicious software can spam the website with false requests, slowing the system and even discovering private information.

The authentication system protected in this patent utilizes multiple digital signatures created by connection requests made on a server. Claim 1 of this patent describes:

“A machine-implemented method, comprising: detecting a network connection request made by a requesting resource; overriding a network connection accept operation that attempts to establish a connection with the requesting resource, the requesting resource is not permitted to fully process the network connection accept operation by the overriding the network connection accept operation; acquiring a full network path and a process name for an executable of the requesting resource; accessing a signature library to obtain a first signature for the process name, the first signature is generated during a first connection request made by the requesting resource and acquired from a digital signature service; comparing the obtained first signature to a second signature that is generated for the executable, and the second signature generated from a binary of executable for the requesting resource; authenticating the network connection request and processing the network connection accept operation to make the connection when the first signature equals the second signature, the requesting resource is unaware of any authentication occurring at all the authentication occurs without the requesting resource supplying any information; denying the network connection request when the first signature does not equal the second signature; and logging an Internet Protocol (IP) address associated with the requesting resource for subsequent reporting and denial of future connection requests attempted by the requesting resource.”


Graphical User Interface for Presenting Location Information
U.S. Patent No. 8355862

The use of location-based positioning systems has become increasingly useful for mobile device owners as more apps take advantage of Global Position System (GPS) navigation and mapping systems. GPS is one of the more precise positioning systems available, accurate to within a few meters, but it is not the only system in use. One of Apple’s newest patent awards protects a graphical user interface that cross-references data from multiple positioning systems.

Mobile devices communicate with many different network access points, including cell phone towers and wi-fi Internet stations. These several access points allow mobile devices to communicate with positioning systems other than GPS. The graphical user interface would display a mapping application that provides location and navigational information based on the data from these multiple positioning systems. As the first claim of this patent describes, Apple is protecting:

“A method comprising: estimating a first current position of a device and a first geographic area at least partially surrounding the first estimated current position using a first positioning system; estimating a second current position of the device and a second geographic area at least partially surrounding the second estimated current position using a second positioning system; and providing for display an indication of either the first estimated current position or the second estimated position based on whether the first estimated geographic area is contained within the second estimated geographic area, providing for display the indication including: providing for display a first map view, including the first geographic area as the indication of the first estimated current position on the first map view, if the first geographic area is contained within the second geographic area; or providing for display a second map view, including the second geographic area as the indication of the second estimated current position, if the first geographic area is not contained within the second geographic area.”


Methods and Systems for Strengthening LCD Modules
U.S. Patent No. U.S. Patent No. 8355112

A cracked iPhone screen display seriously hampers an individual’s ability to use their mobile device. Many users have experienced this negative aspect of their iPhone’s sensitive touchscreen, especially when the phone is dropped on a hard surface, like pavement. In many cases, this is due to the fragile nature of the touchscreen’s liquid crystal module (LCM), the part of device screen’s liquid crystal display (LCD) that registers data inputs transmitted by a user’s touch.

This patent outlines an innovative way to produce LCD screens for mobile devices that improve the strength of the LCM unit. This asymmetrical design calls for the creation of multiple glass sheets, with the LCM sheet laminated to at least one larger glass sheet, fortifying the fragile touch-sensitive layer against extreme pressure. As claim 1 describes, this patent protects:

“A method of forming a display with an asymmetric glass configuration, comprising: providing a first glass sheet having a first thickness; providing a second glass sheet having a second thickness; cutting the first glass sheet with a first cutting process, the first cutting process forming a first edge on the first glass sheet; cutting the second glass sheet with a second cutting process that is different than first cutting process, the second cutting process forming a second edge on the second glass sheet; and positioning the first and second sheets relative to one another in order to form the display.”

For more on Apple patents and patent applications please see our other articles at: http://www.ipwatchdog.com/tag/apple-patents/


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