Here’s How Apple is Going to SMASH Ultrabooks

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has patented the wedge design of the MacBook Air, which could set back Ultrabook makers who have been copying the metallic look and feel of the Air over the past year. Apple now owns the rights to the “distinctive wedge or teardrop profile” of the lightweight notebook.

The patent, instead of focusing on concrete details, covers the general aesthetic of the MacBook Air’s design, which has been copied by dozens of laptops, dubbed “Ultrabooks,” over the last year or so. And minor variations to the aesthetic won’t work to elude legal action on behalf of Apple to get those notebooks taken off shelves.

The patent covers the details of the solid lines of Apple’s MacBook Air, and in determining infringement, courts will look at whether the allegedly infringing device and the design patent are substantially similar in overall appearance to an “ordinary observer,” excluding minor differences. Unimportant details of the notebook, as outlined by Apple in its patent application, include the rear contour, hinge, side ports, and feet, which means variations in those features wont’ matter if the overall wedge profile is copied.

However, Ultrabook makers could tweak the angles, shapes, and proportions of their notebook designs to avoid the patent. That’s good news for Lenovo, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Asus, all of which could potentially come under fire for Ultrabooks modeled after Apple’s popular notebook. Going forward, Ultrabooks will likely find a new look to avoid patent litigation.