First, Apple patented the rectangle with rounded corners, and now it’s done something similar for the square with rounded corners. Well, sort of. The iPhone maker has been granted a design patent for the Apple Watch, preventing other manufacturers from copying the look of its first ever wearable. The patent is straightforward and simply consists of nine line drawings of the Apple Watch’s body — a curved square shape with indentations for the watch bands to slot into, and prominences for the digital crown, single button, and sensor array on the rear.
Two images from the patent showing the front and rear of the Apple Watch. (Apple/USPTO)
The patent was originally filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in August last year (the month before the Apple Watch was announced), but was only granted yesterday. As well as the line drawings, the patent also includes a large body of references regarding rivals’ smartwatches. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, the Metawatch, and the Pebble are among those cited, as well as more luxury items like the $15,000 Hermes Carre H Watch — which sports a rounded-square look similar to that of the Apple Watch. The USPTO will have looked at these products before determining that Apple’s design is unique enough to warrant its own patent. However, it’s worth remembering that this is a US patent only — it won’t deter manufacturers from selling their own Apple Watch knock-offs in countries with less stringent copyright laws.