Earlier this month Microsoft was granted several design patents related to their new Surface RT tablet and associated Touch Cover. Additionally, Microsoft was granted three new graphical user interface patents regarding future tablet functionality. Specifically, Microsoft illustrated the user interface elements offering new features such as telephony and a specific one for video conferencing. The latter is likely to be revealed as relating to Skype functionality at an appropriate point in time. The rather unique twist to the new user interface patents is in how Microsoft chose to present these elements. This could very well end up being the bigger story.
Microsoft Granted Several Design Patents for their Surface RT Tablet
The US Patent and Trademark Office have officially granted Microsoft several design patents relating to their Surface RT tablet including the Surface Touch Cover with built-in keyboard.
Microsoft Granted Design Patent for GUI Elements
The US Patent Office also granted Microsoft three additional design patents titled "Display screen with graphical user interface." One design relates to a series of functions related to the Surface tablet such as telephony, Mail, Contacts, Settings and one symbol/element that I'm not familiar with in the form of a half circle. The second one may related to a future integrated Skype GUI element for videoconferencing.
But wait, there's a 10 ton Gorilla in the room. Microsoft chose to present their new GUI elements on a brand new Surface Stand with a front lock that has a large hole in it to allow the camera to capture those on a video conference. This could be useful for both the enterprise and home markets.
Any granted design patent element that is illustrated with broken lines means that it's not a part of the design that the company is seeking a patent for. I get that, and yet Microsoft chose to showcase their GUI elements in this very unusual light. Meaning that they could have plainly illustrated the GUI element by itself without a context, which is the most common way of presenting user interface elements in design patents. But they didn't. Therefore the stand is noteworthy enough to state that Microsoft or some third party developer has likely designed such a stand that will eventually make its way to market over time. The latter point is my take on this unique tablet stand design form factor and only time will tell if it pans out.