Apparently it has been raining patents at 1 Infinite Loop Cupertino, this week. Two days ago we showed you the recently patented MultiTouch Library by Apple. Soon after, Apple was granted the patent numbered D615083 for the iPhone 3G design.
Only recently had Apple acquired the patent over the first generation iPhone and iPod touch design and a second USPTO patent has arrived covering the 3G and 3GS device form factor. The full patent listing can be browsed at the USPTO Database. And the patent fiesta does not just stop there. It goes on to cover the stock icons used on the iPhone OS. We remember Apple patenting the CoverFlow earlier. This time they are looking at covering everything iPhone-ish.
You might notice the home-button is missing in the given patent images. While that does remain a mystery. Apple might do away with the button in the next gen device. However, the patent still restricts anyone else to build a device similar to the given design with or without the home button.
It seems the cheaper iPhone clone manufacturers will have a tougher time now selling their devices. Not only can the form factor be not copied now, even the homescreen icons will be unavailable on any mobile platform. There has been some buzz over the icon patents as it does seem uncanny to patent the very generic icons. Let’s say the clock icon? It’s quite possible that a desktop programmer inadvertently arrived at the same generic image without previously having seen the Apple icon.
We have listed below, a few of the many patented springboard icons.