Microsoft has big plans for its Surface lineup of devices. And in a bid to make sure that no other company copies its Surface design the company filed a patent to protect it.

The latest on the matter is the Redmond has been granted a new patent in the United States that covers both the Surface RT as well as the Pro variant of the company’s first ever tablet. It effectively blocks other companies from copying the look and feel of the device.

The new surface (don’t laugh) on Patent Bolt, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office listing indicates that Microsoft had applied for the patent all the way back in May 12, 2012 — this makes it approximately one month before the company presented the first Surface concept to public.

And as you would expect, one of the most vital elements that come under protection by this patent is the built-in kickstand that allows the Surface slates to be used just like traditional laptops.

The kickstand is pretty much the signature design feature of the slate, along with Touch or Type covers.

Word on the street is that Microsoft is hard at work trying to expand the Surface family of devices, and some new tablets could soon be making an appearance in the coming months. The emphasis is on smaller units (7-inch form factor), and devices specifically targeted for gaming.

So don’t be surprised if you see more such patents being awarded in the near future.

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