Are third party band adaptors/bands preempted by Apple's design patent?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch Accessories' started by ElctrcJellyfish, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. ElctrcJellyfish macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2015
    Full disclosure: former patent geek here.

    Apple was just granted this design patent on their band attachments.

    This seems to me to foreclose (legal) third-party bands/adapters without a license from Apple, which I suspect will take considerable time and may come with more strings.

    I am sad (I backed Click) but completely unsurprised.

    Anyone reading this differently than I am?
  2. InfoTime macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    Well that's interesting. I was expecting in a few months we'd have a flourishing 3rd party watch band market, much like we have such a huge marketplace of iPhone cases. If the patent doesn't allow for that and Apple enforces it then say hello to a lifetime of $49 rubber watch bands.
  3. bikermahn macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2015
    There will just be flea markets/amazon/ebay filled with apple clone bands. Just like cloned fake cases, this will happen.
  4. ElctrcJellyfish thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2015
    I assume at some point they will be opening up for licensing--the documentation implies that they'll have a third-party licensing scheme--but the license agreement will probably either raise the price (directly or indirectly) and it will almost certainly mean that we're not going to get (legal, non-pirated) shipments of third party solutions in a couple weeks, as some have promised.
  5. rlrobert macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2015

    It's a design patent so it protects the "ornamental design" from designs that are substantially similar. This is different from a utility patent, which protects the functionality. I haven't studied the Watch attachment (I am still waiting for shipment) so I don't have a view on whether there is room for an alternative design that would still be functional. Note that the claim in a design patent includes only the solid lines in the drawings, not the dotted lines. (I just looked at Click, and, unfortunately, the design looks awfully similar.)
  6. ElctrcJellyfish thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2015
    Yes--first, I suspect that Apple also has a utility patent on the precise locking mechanism in the works. It's just that design patents take less time to work through the system.

    But I also think that the design patent itself would preempt Click and the other third-party adapters I've currently seen as constituted--and I suspect that this particular patent will at least delay third party solutions while they try to design around it.

    I'm very curious to see what will happen from there.
  7. tivoboy, Apr 28, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2015

    tivoboy macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2005

    The Chinese don't care about that ... there will be a flood of bands soon enough.
  8. w00tini, Apr 28, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2015

    w00tini macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2008
    and they will be crap.

    I think the purpose of this post is to understand if/when we can expect a high or commensurate level of quality 3party bands.
  9. tivoboy macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2005

    I have to disagree.. most of the iphone, ipad, mac cases are made in china to begin with. I'm not talking the 2$ variety, but the 15-25$ straps are going to be just fine for most people. If you really want "flouroastimer" whatever that is, they it'll cost 49$.
  10. Mac 128 macrumors 603

    Mac 128

    Apr 16, 2015
    I don't think Apple could really go after anyone until the patent was granted.

    However, that doesn't explain the dearth of high profile third party licensees being lined up by Apple. Given their fashion bent, we should have seen several big fashion houses lined up to provide third party bands for the watch, even before the patent was granted.

    There is one explanation -- Apple wants to make as much money off their own bands as possible before opening up the field. Apple is now a watch band maker for all practical purposes, they have to compete with the other major manufacturers of such things on the same fashion driven playing field. I'm sure Apple believe they have the resources to do this themselves as well as any of the fashion houses. And I'm sure the fashion houses don't appreciate Apple's terms which almost assuredly are that they get 50% of the gross retail price.

    This is the same reason I don't think we've heard about third party watch faces. Again Apple has the ability to compete with any design house, and will likely create their own for sale on the App Store, just like ringtones. They will only open the door to licensees who want to play by their terms -- want a Miami Dolphins watch face? Then Someone will have to secure the license and then let Apple take 50% of the sale price, and hope they can still make money.

    I think this is Apple just being greedy until they know whether their investment in the watch is going to pay off the way iPad and iPhone did, or whether it's going to be more of an TV kind of hobby.

Share This Page