Apple sued over iPad cover

A Colorado man says Apple’s smart cover for the new iPad and the iPad 2 violate his 2005 patent for a “Portable Computer Case.”

Aspen resident Jerald Bovino filed a lawsuit in federal court asking Apple (s aapl) and retailer Target (s TGT) to pay royalties for using his technology.

The claim is based on US patent 6,977,809 which describes an “integral case” that attaches to a computer. The patent says the invention is useful for situations like airport X-ray lines.

The iPad Smart Cover, which sells for $39.95, attaches to Apple tablets with a magnet and covers the screen.

The Bovino patent refers to a series of ribs on the case that protect the device:

The iPad smart cover also contains ribs (though this doesn’t mean it is infringing):

The patent was issued in 2005, six years before Apple unveiled the iPad 2 and its cover.

In a coincidence, the Patently Apple blog reported this week that the company  received a design patent for the iPad cover.

Bovino may have his hands full as Apple has many intellectual property veterans in its legal team. The company may claim Bovino’s patent is invalid because it is obvious or not new.

Here’s a copy of the complaint:

iPad Cover Lawsuit Copy