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Apple wins patent for glass-on-metal trackpad designed by Jobs & Ive

Apple on Tuesday was awarded a patent for the design of the glass trackpad atop the aluminum unibody enclosure of its MacBook lineup.

U.S. Patent No. D674382, simply entitled Portable Computer, was granted to Apple by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Its illustrations show the "ornamental design for a portable computer," and included among its inventors are Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and chief designer Jony Ive.

Apple notes in the patent that the surface of its MacBook computers is "metallic," and the included illustrations show the company's existing trackpad design found below the keyboard on a MacBook.

The awarded patent stems from a series of application continuations, the first of which was filed with the USPTO in 2008. In the document, Apple refers to the MacBook illustrations as "our new design."

The larger glass trackpad debuted in Apple's MacBook Pros in late 2008 when the company ushered in a major redesign with unibody aluminum enclosures. Unlike previous MacBooks that had a dedicated button below the trackpad for clicking, the new MacBook Pro glass trackpad was the first to act as a single physical button and to also understand multi-touch gestures.

In addition to Jobs and Ive, other inventors credited in the patent are Bartley K. Andre, Daniel J. Coster, Daniele De luliis, Evans Hankey, Richard P. Howart, Duncan Robert Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas B. Satzger, Christopher J. Stringer, Eugene Antony Whang, and Rico Zorkendorfer.