HTC applies for patent on using an antenna as part of the external structure of a phone

HTC applies for Apple patent

Thursday is patent day, and this week we have a pretty nice crop from HTC.  The above one is remarkable for being pretty brazen, and appears to be trying to patent something which Apple has just recently announced as a feature of the iPhone 4.

In HTC’s lawyer’s (slightly shortened) words:

The present invention provides a mobile electronic device which uses a metal part disposed on an external surface of an appearance to enhance reception of an antenna disposed in the appearance and is beneficial to an exterior design of the mobile electronic device.

The present invention provides a mobile electronic device which includes an appearance, a first antenna and a metal part. The appearance is used to accommodate a substrate. The first antenna is disposed on the substrate, and the metal part is disposed on the external surface of the appearance. During overall operation, the mobile electronic device receives or transmits signals through a first bandwidth radio frequency band by the first antenna and the metal part.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the above mobile electronic device further includes a second antenna. The second antenna is disposed on the substrate. The mobile electronic device receives or transmits signals through a second bandwidth radio frequency band by the second antenna and the metal part.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the first antenna is used for receiving or transmitting signals through the first bandwidth radio frequency band, the second antenna is used for receiving or transmitting signals through the second bandwidth radio frequency band, and the metal part is used for receiving or transmitting signals through the first bandwidth radio frequency band and second bandwidth radio frequency band.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the above first antenna and the second antenna are respectively disposed on a first corner and a second corner of the substrate. In addition, the first corner and the second corner are adjacent to each other.

As described above, the present invention uses the metal part disposed on the external surface of the appearance to enhance patterns and average gains of the antennas disposed inside the appearance. Hence, under the influence of the metal part, the antenna has better reception. Additionally, the metal part disposed on the external surface of the appearance may adopt different textures and colors to beautify the exterior design of the mobile electronic device, and necessary text patterns of corporate trademarks may be further printed thereon. In other words, the metal part of the present invention enhances reception of the antennas and enhances the exterior design of the mobile electronic device using the established hardware space in the mobile electronic device.

Or even shorter – metal areas on the external surface of a smartphone can serve an attractive design purpose while also acting as an antenna and improving cellphone reception.  Now where did I see that before…

To be fair, HTC’s patent application was from the 5th May, and relied on a Taiwanese patent from December 2008. Now imagine it being granted and Apple having to pay HTC license fees 😀

Read the full patent application here.

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