Apple has been granted its sixth design patent for the MacBook Air since September 2009 and if reports are to be believed, the company is already forcing manufacturers to stop production of an Ultrabook with a very similar design.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has officially published a series of 19 newly granted patents for Apple today including one for the design of the MacBook Air which credits the late Steve Jobs and UK-born Jonny Ive for the iconic design.
Apple has been waging war with Samsung and other manufacturers over their smartphone and tablet designs for the past year or so, complaining that Samsung has been “slavishly copying” the design of the iPhone and iPad.
Now it seems as if Apple could be getting ready to take the fight to the slew of Ultrabook manufacturers who have released slim and light laptops in the past six month, many of which have had more than a passing resemblance to the MacBook Air, which has been around since 2008.
According to a report in the Chinese-language Commercial Times, Apple has forced Pegatron, one of the companies which assembles iPhones for Apple, to cease the production of the Asus Zenbook because the Cupertino-based company believes the Zenbook is too similar to the MacBook Air.
Pegatron, which is one of the companies whose factories are being investigated by the Fair Labor Association regarding concerns about working conditions, will stop producing the Asus Zenbook by the end of March, leaving Asus to look elsewhere for a production partner. Pegatron has only recently won iPhone orders from Apple and is hoping to join Foxconn in assembling the iPad 3 too.
While Apple won’t be able to go after all Ultrabooks – such as the Lenovo Yoga and HP Envy 14 Spectre – but there are plenty out there which will be worried about getting a legal letter in the door from Apple – such as the Dell XPS 13 and the Samsung Series 9.
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We really hope Apple doesn’t go after Ultrabook manufacturers and we suspect it may not happen, as if it did, it would likely anger Intel and that’s would mean Apple could be forced to look elsewhere for its CPUs in the future.