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Don’t turn the page! You may owe Apple money

The United States Patent Office has approved a design patent giving Apple the exclusive right to display page turns digitally. This specifically refers to the mimicking of an actual page turn in iBooks that is triggered when a user swipes or taps near the edge of a page in an e-book.

In case anyone wasn’t sure what turning a page looks like, Apple included three handy illustrations in its patent. The images represent the three stages of virtually turning a page: the first shows the corner of the page being turned slightly, the second shows the page halfway turned, and the last shows the page almost entirely turned over.

Apple filed the page turn patent back in December 2011, but it wasn’t approved until this week. This isn’t the first time Apple has filed a patent to claim ownership over seemingly obvious things. The company has been granted a patent for the musical note icon that symbolizes iTunes and the glass staircase found in its stores, according to the New York Times.

The page turn trademark is just one of many patents Apple has been granted this week alone. The United States Patent Office granted 38 other patents to the Cupertino, Calif.-based company, including a “Skin tone aware color boost for cameras, “Location-based categorical information services,” and a “Consistent backup of electronic information.”

What’s more interesting is that neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble have previously patented a page turn feature for their e-readers. The Kindle and Nook played a huge role in making e-readers a commercial commodity, giving users a way to read content electronically on-the-go before the age of tablets.

Apple has been locked in a seemingly endless debacle with one of its biggest rivals, Samsung, concerning patens and ownership rights. A judge in San Jose, Calif. just granted Apple permission to target Samsung’s Galaxy Note, Galaxy S3, and the Jelly Bean operating system in the lawsuit, while also approving Samsung to cite allegations against Apple’s iPhone 5.