What you're seeing above is one of the many picture included in Apple's latest patent - US Patent D670,286 (auxiliary link), accepted and awarded to Apple by the United States Patent and Trademark Office - it refers to the iPad's "ornamental design" for a "Portable Display Device". Apple marked its "unique identifying features" with dashed lines. As stated in the patent description, "broken lines in the Figures show portions of the portable display device which form no part of the claimed design.". With that in mind, it appears that for the most part, the patent concerns a rectangle with rounded edges. The only unbroken line in all the figures is the outline of the flat, rounded rectangular front face of the device - other features, such as the speaker grille, round home button, display size, Dock connector, or the iPad's curved back, are not covered by this design patent, as they are featured in others, for example D627,777. Apple originally used their design patent D504,889 against Samsung during the lawsuits concerning devices of the Galaxy line - the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab. That patent was filed in 2004 and awarded in 2005 and was based on the iPad's prototype, and despite the original prelimenary injunction, the jury voted againts Apple's claims connected with the forementioned patent. This one appears to be an attempt at "correcting" this mistake by being much more specific as to remove any vagueness. According to Lea Shaver, Associate Professor at Indiana University's McKinnet School of Law, "This design patent gives Apple no new advantage, because no one is out there trying to market an iPad lookalike" and it is uncertain whether the company will use it in court cases, however given their latest history of agressively defending their patented "technology", regardless of whether the patents were logical or asinine, it's likely that they will. "Sigh, sigh, sigh," tweets @twoSeats, "This is just absurd" seconds @caitlindavey - the patent causes much head scratching already. Gizmodo calls it "ridiculously broad", stating that "a world in which it's possible to patent a simple shape seems an odd one indeed." and it's hard not to agree considering the circumstances. Gizmodo ArsTechnica now.MSN The Verge We'll see how this situation develops and what will be the reaction of other players in the tablet market. In the meantime, what do You think about this patent? Is it time to start worring about the future of tablets and other smart devices? Do patents like this stall progress of the industry? Discuss!