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Apple Applies For Patent On iPad Smart Cover

August 13, 2012,

iPad.jpgCalifornia - Apple announced last week that it has applied for a patent to protect its slick new iPad cover. The application lists the patent as "Cover Attachment with Flexible Display". The new technology offers such useful additions as a keyboard, an extra row of apps, and the option of having special notifications appear on the cover space.

Undoubtedly, iPad users have reason to be excited at the possibility of a new Apple issued accessory for the iPad. Some of the cool new features possibly offered will be an ambient power collector, a keyboard and touch screen integrated into the cover flap, a rear display with controls in the back of the iPad, and additional alerts that could be displayed on the cover such as calendar notifications. Many iPad users end up purchasing separate keyboards for use with their iPad, so the keyboard option could prove to be a useful addition when the user folds the cover back. In addition, ambient power has become a popular new option for consumers who would prefer to use solar power to boost displays, particularly when using the iPad outdoors. The cover alert portion of the patent would allow users to display calendar events, notifications and alerts on the cover. The rear display function seems like the least likely of the options to actually come to pass. Industry experts say that locating controls on the back of the product would be impractical since the user would constantly have to turn the product around to see what buttons they were pushing.

The timing of the patent is interesting considering the recently unveiled Microsoft Surface tablet which will be sold with a cover that includes a kick stand and keyboard. The Apple patent could result in a single cover for the iPad, or several smart covers with different feature options. The new iPad smart cover should come out in time for the 2012 Christmas shopping season. The manager of product design at Apple, Fletcher Rothkopf, is listed as the inventor.

California Gets U.S. Patent & Trademark Regional Office

July 18, 2012,

USPTO Image.jpgCalifornia - The U.S. Commerce Department made the announcement earlier this month that it has decided to open four regional United States Patent & Trademark Offices. The new offices will be located in Dallas, Texas, Denver, Colorado and Silicon Valley, California. These offices join the previously announced satellite office in Detroit, Michigan that is scheduled to open on July 13, 2012. According to the United States Patent & Trademark Office ("USPTO") website, the locations selected were based on significant studies that analyzed geographical diversity, regional economic impact, ability to recruit and retain employees, and the ability to engage the intellectual property community.

In September 2011, President Obama signed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 (AIA), which requires the USPTO to select regions for its satellite locations. This Act will also change the U.S. rights for filing patent applications from as it stands today which is a "first-to-invent" system to a "first inventor-to-file" system. The changes regarding the "first inventor-to-file" will take effect on March 16, 2013.

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank stated regarding the USPTO changes, "Intellectual property protection and innovation are engines of economic growth and the bedrock of America's private sector. The Obama administration is committed to making certain that our businesses and entrepreneurs have the resources they need to grow, create jobs and compete globally. These new offices are an historic step toward further advancing our world's best IP system, and reinforcing the United States as the number one destination for innovation capital, and research and development around the world."

The USPTO's office in Silicon Valley will not only create jobs here in California but it is also expected to positively change the economy as well. The satellite office in Silicon Valley will be located among many of its Applicant's who hold enormous intellectual property portfolios. Among the top 100 companies listed on the 2012 Fortune 500 list include companies in Silicon Valley such as Palo Alto-based Hewlett Packard (HP), Santa Clara-based Apple, and San Jose-based Cisco Systems.

David Kappos, Director of the USPTO states, "By expanding our operation outside of the Washington metropolitan area for the first time in our agency's 200-plus year history, we are taking unprecedented steps to recruit a diverse range of talented technical experts, creating new opportunities across the American workforce. These efforts, in conjunction with our ongoing implementation of the America Invents Act, are improving the effectiveness of our IP system, and breathing new life into the innovation ecosystem."

With changes such as these that aim to boost the economy, things are looking a bit brighter here in the Golden State.