From Russia without love: iPad patent appeal rejected

Apple’s two-year attempt to get the iPad design patented in the Russian Federation hit a dead-end, when regulators ruled there was nothing “distinctive” about the tablet’s makeup. The company had appealed an April rejection by the Russian Patent Office. This most recent rejection by the Russian Chamber for Patent Disputes seems to close the door on gaining a patent for the best-selling tablet.

In its response to Apple, written in Russian, the chamber ruled the iPad patent application – which describes rounded corners, a flat surface and round button beneath the screen – involves a design that is “traditional for modern communication devices, manufactured by different vendors”

According to Russian business site Cnews via The Next Web, although Apple had argued in its appeal the iPad  patent included “distinctive features” that “catch consumer’s eye at once”, the Russian body didn’t agree.

“Inconspicuous differences in dimensions, screen size, and buttons layout are not essential distinction criteria”, the appeals body ruled. “There are not any original elements that would make the schematic design in question distinctive”, the chamber added.

Russia’s flat rejection of Apple’s patent request is in stark contrast to the dozens of patents granted by the U.S. government.

Among those awarded, were for the iPad design, as well as the packaging.

Just yesterday, a judge from The Hague ruled in Apple’s favor for a patent protecting how an iPad users can get a glimpse of the next image on the iPad. As we reported Tuesday, Apple was granted more than two-dozen U.S. patents, including protecting the icon for Siri, as well as other design features.

The ruling by Russian authorities must feel like vindication for Samsung and other companies that have argued in court and elsewhere that the iPad’s design is not unique and should not be protected. For Apple, the ruling could set back any efforts to combat rip-offs being sold in Russia as iPads.

Is it important for Apple to patent the iPad’s design in Russia?