This is a quite intriguing idea to protect a product. In ipods case,
they use many other assemblies to construct the iPod itself.
They trademark it as a system and technology 'hybrid' and don't have to
worry or attempt to protect the actually hardware technology itself.
12/04/05 - Trademarks, Not Patents: The real competitive advantage of
the Apple iPod
Trademarks, unlike patents or copyrights, never expire if used properly.
Registered design elements that serve as a brand foundation are
therefore indefinite forms of competitive advantage. Value transference,
in a nutshell, is the premeditated use of multiple intellectual property
regimes at specific points across the product lifecycle, in order to
realize sustainable differentiation.
So how does all of this apply to Apple and the iPod? A quick teardown of
my iPod [Exhibit 1 above] reveals that most all of the guts of this
product are made by others: Toshiba, Sony, Portal Player, Samsung, Texas
Instruments, Wolfson Microlectronics, Cypress Semiconductor, Synaptics
and othersa veritable who's who in the high tech hardware industry.
These suppliers keep their technology ahead of the performance and cost
curves, and Apple benefits.
Apple integrates these discrete components (through software
intelligence) and packages them in the clean white-and-chrome "bathtub."
Jerry Decker - http://www.keelynet.com
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