Fryer Art Threatens Apple Patent Application

from the oh-the-puns dept

One slightly cool little feature of Apple’s new Intel-based laptop is the connector for its power cord. Instead of being a plug that fits into a socket, the connector — called MagSafe — is held in by a magnet, so if it’s yanked on or tripped over, it comes out without breaking anything. Steve Jobs was quite proud of the new connector, noting that it was “patent pending”, but similar connectors have been used on deep fryers and other kitchen appliances for some time now. The idea is that should a child reach up and grab the cord, it will just detach, instead of showering the kid with hot oil. While the consequences of yanking a MacBook Pro cord probably aren’t so dire, Steve’s hopes for a patent aren’t looking too likely.

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Comments on “Fryer Art Threatens Apple Patent Application”

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DV Henkel-Wallace says:

Probably a design patent

You can also get design patents (e.g. size, shape, etc). So they wouldn’t have control over the idea of a magnetic latch, but only the shape. This is why you can’t make a player that looks too much like an iPod for example.

What you are thinking of is a utility patent. And I am sure Jobs doesn’t mind if you make that mistake.

Sage Osterfeld (user link) says:

Re: No Subject Given

…its not so much that the power cord itself is innovative, its the way its being used thats innovative.

Baloney. The magnetic power cord is being used to protect something valuable from potentially being damaged. My Euro-fry, which I’ve had for years, (it’s the way Europeans fry their food!) has a magnetic connector and it protect something valuable (namely my kids) from being potentially damaged.

Steve was obviously frying up some chicken nuggets one night and thought “hey — this is pretty cool!”

Just because he’s the first guy to take a deep fryer power cord and attach it to a laptop doesn’t mean he should get a patent for it.

mark says:

prior art

Interesting development.
1). This is the Steve Jobs “reality distortion field” on the high setting. Take an idea from a kitchen appliance, call it new and then walk across the stage as if across water.
2). Call something new, even if it’s been done many times before, and since it’s now been done by Apple, it’s the best new idea of the century.
I hope the original inventor gets a nice royalty for his idea.

mhh5 says:

always read the patent first...

Before we all start jumping to conclusions, we should probably read the actual patent (if we can find it) — who knows, AAPL may have patented the optimum magnetic strength to attach a power cord while not affecting sensitive electronics inside a laptop. There may be a reason why no laptop maker has put this on a laptop before….

Anonymous of Course says:

Re: always read the patent first...

There is a reason… design engineers are
under constant pressure to reduce cost.

I’ve had executives of a large US corp
teleconference over a three cent reduction
in a bill of materials.

When you run the company you can say, “hey,
this is cool, lets add this” and no one has
a seizure over the cost. For a deep fryer
the cost is outweighed by the potential for
injury and being sued (in Europe at least
in the US they just put really short cords
on the appliance.)

So anyway… Jobs adds a feature that keeps
dopes from busting their laptops and wows
the crowd. Whoopie.

AC says:

Talk about an ?Ancient Suggestion?

Check out US patent Classification 439 ELECTRICAL CONNECTORS
Subclass 38:
This subclass is indented under the class definition. Electrical connector combined with means to cause one portion of the device to be drawn toward a member of iron or ironlike composition by magnetic attraction.
(1) Note. The “magnet” of this subclass may be either a permanent magnet or an electromagnet.
Subclass 39:
To urge mating connectors together:
This subclass is indented under subclass 38. Electric connector wherein the means to cause magnetic attraction is intended to hold the connector in position with respect to a cooperating connector to transmit electricity thereto.
(1) Note. The connector of this subclass is not necessarily a “coupling part”.
Subclass 40:
To urge connector to supporting surface:
This subclass is indented under subclass 38. Electrical connector wherein the means to cause magnetic attraction is intended to hold the connector to another member and hold the connector against the force of gravity.

This is just some of the prior art on the subject:

2,234,982 April 7, 1939
3,363,214 Jan 9, 1968
4,211,456 July 8, 1980
6,250,931 June 26, 2001
6,267,602. July 31, 2001
6,478,614 Nov 12, 2002
6,527,570 Mar 4, 2003
6,976,882 Dec 20, 2005

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