Apple’s patent application for a “high-tech” paper bag

Find out how Apple’s newest patent improves upon a classic design to bring an old invention into the modern age – despite wide internet mockery.

Apple is a company known for its technological revolutions in the computer, music and tablet spaces, but is the next era in … paper bags?

"Our goals are very simple: to design and make better products," an Apple designer was quoted as saying in Time magazine. "If we can't make something that is better, we won't do it."

Apparently, this applies to Apple's paper shopping bags as well, which the company recently filed for patent. It sounds like an oxymoron to say "a high-tech paper bag", but it is the "high-tech" part of this description that may just get Apple that patent.

An improved bag

Since the application has been released, internet mockery has been endless. Indeed, many feel that the very idea of upgrading a paper bag must be a hoax – suggesting Apple's idea could be declined. However, maybe all of this ridicule is unwarranted.

After all, the United States Patent and Trademark Office states that a utility patent "may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof."

The Apple patent is indeed an "improved" upon bag. Although being made from 60 per cent recyclables isn't anything new in and of itself, it's actually more functional than most recyclable bags. So, the stalwart paper bag is improved in the sense that Apple argues the design is what makes its bag more functional, and thus, a patentable idea.

The bag is also an enhancement because most recyclable bags have to be bleached, and this is usually what makes them flimsy. Yet Apple may meet the requirement of an innovation patent application because the tech giant is breaking ground by finding a way to keep bags very white while also remaining environmentally friendly. This is where its design comes into play, using numerous inventive reinforcements to maintain structural integrity despite the bleaching process.

The Apple bag is actually more functional than most recyclable bags.

Can a paper bag be made more "useful"?

Apple's bag is not such an outrageous notion once you know that recyclable paper bags are usually highly fragile, and this one is intended to be strong enough to prevent the bag from breaking – thus protecting the expensive products you just bought at the store. Harvard Business Review explains how customer experience is at the core of Apple, and ease-of-use in packaging is another way that the tech leader is trying to make this bag more useful and integrated into their customer service.

Apple argues that its bag is environmentally useful, too. Paragraph 23 of the patent application states that it will "reduce any environmental impact from its productions, use, and disposal."

 Apple has just come up with a more complicated and possibly more useful paper bag that could pass the test. No matter what internet users may say about the patent, Apple's situation just goes to show that, really, anything can be improved if you have a sensible idea. Paper bags today, perhaps sliced bread tomorrow? Regardless, this is where Alder IP comes in.

Alder IP gives legal advice on registering a patent in Australia, assisting you in your ventures to be the next modern revolutionary.