These days, patents are king. It seems that every week there is a fresh new patent infringement lawsuit. There’s billions at stake and the lawyers must be loving the payout. Over the last several weeks/month we’ve seen a couple high profile acquisitions, Nortel sold their 6,000+ patent for $4.5 billion to Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM and Sony. Then a couple weeks ago Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion and boldly stated that “Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio”. This is all about being competitive and keeping their intellectual property protected. Apple and Samsung are suing each other, so are Motorola and Apple and Microsoft and Motorola… the list goes on. Every patent counts these days.
Today, Apple was granted a few patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office that consist of iOS’s Virtual keyboard, patent number D644,238, was originally filed in November 2009 and the inventor credit was given to Bas Ording. This gives Apple protection on how the keyboard looks and operates. The other key patent, again related to design, is patent number D644239. Apple can now claim ownership to five related icons covering Camera, Podcasts, Photos, Artists and Featured.
Now no manufacturer can copy the design of the virtual keyboard, nor their pretty icons. Regardless of how many patents are granted, the feuds will continue.