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Apple sued over iPad cover

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A Colorado man says Apple’s smart cover for the new iPad and the iPad 2 violate his 2005 patent for a “Portable Computer Case.”

Aspen resident Jerald Bovino filed a lawsuit in federal court asking Apple (s aapl) and retailer Target (s TGT) to pay royalties for using his technology.

The claim is based on US patent 6,977,809 which describes an “integral case” that attaches to a computer. The patent says the invention is useful for situations like airport X-ray lines.

The iPad Smart Cover, which sells for $39.95, attaches to Apple tablets with a magnet and covers the screen.

The Bovino patent refers to a series of ribs on the case that protect the device:

The iPad smart cover also contains ribs (though this doesn’t mean it is infringing):

The patent was issued in 2005, six years before Apple unveiled the iPad 2 and its cover.

In a coincidence, the Patently Apple blog reported this week that the company  received a design patent for the iPad cover.

Bovino may have his hands full as Apple has many intellectual property veterans in its legal team. The company may claim Bovino’s patent is invalid because it is obvious or not new.

Here’s a copy of the complaint:

iPad Cover Lawsuit Copy

10 Responses to “Apple sued over iPad cover”

  1. looks to me that ribs on his patent are for protection the ribs on the Smart cover aren’t actually ribs they are integral indented hinges so that the cover can fold to allow the device to be angled for use.

  2. i disagree with the sentiment “poor Apple is suffering because everyone wants to take a bite out of them” . sorry but no. Apple functions like any other multinational corporation. just because a company is the biggest and the most profitable does not make them the most nobel. stealing, culling and pillaging the creativity of others, who may be perceived as inconsequential, insignificant or weak is common in big business. how could Apple not know there was an existing patent of this kind? dont they have a huge research and legal department who is highly paid for their expertise to cover their behinds in matters of this nature? Perhaps they knew the patent existed and produced it anyway in hopes that it would go unnoticed. Apple needs to focus on making computers and technology not soft goods such as computer cases. as a life long Apple user and supporter the aluminum case which houses my Macbrook Pro , sucks and has been recalled , as well as the battery and the power port…shall i go on? I’ll make my own computer bag or ipad case, Apple just make a good product that doesnt fall apart in the first 6 months of purchase.

    • Robert Hall

      Well if this was nearly patent 7,000,000 I’m guessing it’s pretty easy not to realise you’re infringing on others. The law around patents just seems ridiculous to me.

  3. H. Murchison

    This guy should prepare for his patent to be invalidated. The Smart Cover has grooves to fold and that’s about it. There are bound to be hundreds of cases of prior art here.

  4. AntiLawsuit

    Nowadays, everyone wants a piece of Apple pie!!! Hmmm
    Samsung is the same….stealing Apple technology but also sued APPL at the same time – They dont feel shameful as a rival competitors…Crap shit story about lawsuits lately…I would be proud if I were that man since my cover is used on everyone iPad…hahaha Without the iPAD, that cover is just as SH%& piling up in someone’s basement.