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Apple wins patents on iPhone 4 design, MagSafe

The company has also won a patent on the iPad's housing and cover.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

Apple has won several patents today from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Apple had filed for a patent on the iPhone 4's design and was awarded it today. Interestingly, Apple also received a design patent on the white iPhone -- a device that, in 2010, was delayed due to "challenging" production issues.

Patently Apple was first to discover the patents.

Not to be outdone, a patent on the iPad's case was also awarded to Apple, along with the company's Smart Cover, which magnetically connects to the tablet and sits on top of the slate's screen.

Apple has been winning patents left and right lately. In October, the company won a patent on the original iPad design. A month later, Apple was awarded a patent on the way in which pages turn in its iOS.

Patents have become important assets to companies, as infringement lawsuits hit courts all over the world. Apple is involved in several lawsuits against Samsung, Motorola, and others. The more patents the company owns, the more protection -- and ammo -- it can bring to its court battles. Whether today's newly earned patents will make their way into certain cases is unknown.

Moving away from its mobile products, Apple was also able to win a patent on its MagSafe charging mechanism. That technology magnetically connects to a Mac to charge it, but when the cable is torn away, the magnetic seal is broken, ensuring the computer doesn't fly off a table with it.