back to article Apple moves to patent mobile color

Apple has filed a patent application describing a technique for creating fashionably colored carbon fiber device enclosures. Carbon fiber composites have been around for decades, prized for their light weight and great strength. As such, carbon fiber would be an ideal material for mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones, …


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  1. Christopher Ahrens
    Jobs Horns

    Once again...

    someone invents something useful, Apple tries to patent it, even though they don't even make most of their parts and will end up killing the textiles industry, or at lest trying to sue it into oblivion

  2. ratfox

    Process can be patented

    Of course, coloured carbon fibers are nothing new, but a new process to make them coloured can easily be patented.

  3. Allan Rutland
    Thumb Down

    Odd how...

    Acer managed to do the bright red carbon fibre Ferrari laptop then...oh no, Apple's going patent trolling for Acer :P

  4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Quicker and cheaper

    Bare carbon fiber resin is too ugly for any product. Making it look nice involves extra work and the application of non-structural materials. It looks like Apple's patent is to complete the shell in a single step and reduce non-structural materials to almost nothing.

  5. Ivan Headache

    The word here is Technique

    Yes it has been done before, that's obvious. But the article states that Apple has applied for a technique for doing it - not the concept itself.

  6. Martin Gregorie

    @Kevin McMurtie

    Forming the coloured moulding in one operation isn't patentable - there's prior art.

    Gliders (aka sailplanes) have been made this way since at least the 1980s. I bet Lotus uses essentially the same technique. Its the obvious way to make even quite small production runs of CRP and GRP composites: if its worth making a female vacuum-forming mould for the part it saves money to colour it as part of the moulding process.

  7. James O'Brien
    Paris Hilton

    Say what?

    Im POSITIVE there is prior art for this. Seriously wtf? Apple has been trying to patent more bullshit stuff in the past 3 months then I have ever seen. I cant wait till these start getting enforced.

    /PH because even she knows theirs no point in patenting prior art

  8. Martin Silver badge

    @Process can be patented

    But their patent is claiming the idea of adding colour to make it coloured - not how to do it!

    Can I patent putting your iPhone in your jean's pocket? Then apple can patent putting it into different coloured jeans.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Patent Trolls goes Advertising

    Patent application: Cheap

    Word of mouth and free publicity over said application.. Priceless.

    Actual patent worth? Well if it is a new application of existing process which is unique... then perhaps. E.g. if the fibers can also be used to transmit and receive light... (but of course they could not mention that).

  10. Richard Cartledge

    Not so fast

    Sounds like they are using scrims rather than coloured gel coats which are swilled into the empty moulds before the carbon fibre is added. If they have a unique process then good look to their patent.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    The parent law experts are out again...

    Are you all wearing bibs to catch the foam dripping from your mouths?

  12. Rolf Howarth

    @James O'Brien

    I don't think Apple is patenting any more obvious ideas than anyone, it's just that all their patent applications are being reported here for some reason.

    Apple are also sued by rather more patent trolls trying it on than them suing other people, eg.

    "Apple sued over iPhone e-bookiness"

    "Apple sued over smooth scrolling"

    "Apple sued over iPhone caller ID"

    "Apple sued in server-to-iPod song shift patent clash"

    etc. etc.

  13. Jacob Reid
    Jobs Horns

    "And if there's anything an Apple product can't be, it's tired and unexciting."...


    That is all.

  14. Steve Evans

    @Rolf Howarth

    Well they're probably not patenting more than any other US company...

    That is one screwed up patent system!

    I hear there is a new bible in the US... It appears the meek are out, the lawyers will inherit the earth.

  15. Kanhef

    Probably will be granted

    at least in part. If you actually read the patent application, you'll see that they claim 25 distinct manufacturing processes. There may be prior art for some of them, but not all. The references to "a consistent, aesthetically pleasing appearance" are a mistake on the part of their lawyers. That creates the possibility that the patent does not cover the process if the result is inconsistent or not aesthetically pleasing. I actually hope someone tries that; it should be amusing to watch lawyers in court arguing about whether or not something is aesthetically pleasing.

    Also, for many years bicycle components were uncolored/unpainted to show off that they're made of carbon fiber, rather than aluminum alloy or steel, so not everyone thinks it's horribly ugly. That has started to change as it becomes increasingly common.

  16. Mago Mgi

    Carbon is beautiful - let it be Apple!

    I agree with Kanhef, the way the carbon composites change in different light is pleasing to the eye. Colouring it makes it look plain and boring it might as well be PVC or aluminum. Personally I wouldn't mind a "raw" carbon laptop.

    Right! I'm off to stare lovingly at my bike frame again...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That carbon ferrari laptop.

    Slightly off topic but someone mentioned that "bright red carbon fibre Ferrari laptop " Oh dear. People thinking of getting one: It makes you look like a ten year old (no disrespect to ten year olds).

    The other day on the train a chap sat next to me and whipped one of these out. Alpha male pinstripe humourless looking type. Flipped the lid (swaggering as best he could) and it wastes time flashing up a pre-boot photo of a big red sports car. (I was slightly expecting it to go "Vroom vroom big boy, so glad you turned me on" in a Jessica Rabbit voice but it didn't.) Anyway I had a great time watching this finely tuned piece of engineering blue screen almost immediately, reboot, blue screen again, reboot again, bitch about unclean shutdown then finally get through to windows desktop. Mr Man-And-Machine-In-Harmony then struggled to maintain the cool pose as he waited ages for the desktop to grind and wheeze before finally settling down. Eventually he got to work....playing solitaire.

    Had I known his goal I would have offered him a go of Snake on my mobile while he waited.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Martin Gregorie

    "female vacuum-forming" and you didn't use the Paris Icon??????

    Glad to hear Apple are only trolling a 25 step process, does that mean that if I develop as 26 step process or change on of those steps then its not a breech of the Apple patent?

    FFS, the amount of prior art for this is huge, putting a colour or a layer with an image on it into a mould before filling the mould is nothing new, and is used for everything that can be made in a mould, from airplane parts to chocolate Easter bunnies with white chocolate eyes.

    Paris, female, vacuum-forming and possibly some mould as well

  19. Toastan Buttar
    Thumb Up

    Re: Carbon is beautiful

    "Right! I'm off to stare lovingly at my bike frame again..."

    Just don't get caught shagging it !

  20. MinionZero


    Ok Apple, some years ago I invented something called Paintit (tm).

    Patent 1: With Paintit, I can paint the object (with a brush or spray), and the applied layer dries into a hard shell around the object.

    Patent 2: With Paintit, I can also paint the object (by injection molding the carbon fiber after its had epoxy applied to the fiber), and the applied layer dries into a hard shell around the object.

    Patent 3: With Paintit, I can also paint the object (by injection molding the carbon fiber with epoxy and paint at the same time, so the paint is mixed in with the epoxy resin), and the applied layer dries into a hard shell around the object as part of the epoxy resin.

    Patent 4: With Paintit, I can also paint the carbon fiber, then use epoxy on it.

    Looks like my patents do everything Apple's patents do.

    Shame someone else invented all these decades ago.

    But then I don't have the huge PR and marketing budget of Apple, to try to convince people the idea is original.

  21. John Tserkezis

    Bring it on, I'll be making money now!

    With the way patents are going, I should be able to get away with patenting water.

    Everyone admires it, drinks it, cooks with it, bathes in it, swims in it, float their boats in it:

    Nope, you can't get away, I rightly deserve royalties for you using it.

    By the time the morons at the patent office realise something, I've made off to the Bahamas, where I can lay back and enjoy the fruits of my labour - more water.

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