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Apple's Macbook Air patent might harm Ultrabooks

Because most ultrabooks are designed similar to the MacBook Air, it could lead to serious legal issues with Apple’s patent.

The US patent granted to Apple which covers the wedge-like designs of MacBook Air could cause damage to Ultrabook sales. As published in an article in PCWorld, a Taiwanese government office has warned PC vendors that the new patent could be used to stop the selling of ultrabooks.

Last month, Apple was granted a patent by the US patent court that covers certain specific designs of the MacBook Air including its wedge-like form. This has got the intellectual property office of Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs worried, because most ultrabooks are designed similar to the MacBook Air and this could lead to serious legal issues. Xue Shuhua, a public relations staff at the office disclosed that they have informed PC vendors to be wary of the situation. The office is in plans to hold a meeting with Taiwan's PC manufacturers, but has yet to decide when and which companies to talk to.

Apple has already appealed to court to issue a ban on the import of HTC Smartphones on the ground of several patent violations. Ongoing legal battles between the two parties have recently delayed the shipments of HTC's latest Smartphones in the US as per the International Trade Commission's (ITC) ruling.

Two major Taiwanese PC vendors manufacturing ultrabooks are Acer and ASUS, and both these companies sell their ultrabooks in the US. So, they must have noted HTC's ongoing battle with Apple.

As per PCWorld, a major Taiwanese research institute had made an announcement last year, that it was creating an intellectual property bank to acquire patents in Taiwan and abroad in order to protect vendors from further patent infringement lawsuits. The recent warning by the Taiwanese government office seems like an effort by the Taiwanese electronics industry to avoid any patent disputes.

Neither Acer nor ASUS were available for any comment when PCWorld tried to contact them. Intel, which is known to have come up with the ultrabook category originally, was also unavailable for comment.


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Pallab Jyotee Hazarika, 2012-07- 4 (Update: 2012-07- 4)