“Almost every major technology company is involved in ongoing patent battles, but the most significant player is Apple, industry executives say, because of its influence and the size of its claims: in August in California, the company won a $1 billion patent infringement judgment against Samsung,” Charles Duhigg and Steve Lohr report for The New York Times. “Former Apple employees say senior executives made a deliberate decision over the last decade, after Apple was a victim of patent attacks, to use patents as leverage against competitors to the iPhone, the company’s biggest source of profits.”

“Apple has filed multiple suits against three companies — HTC, Samsung and Motorola Mobility, now part of Google — that today are responsible for more than half of all smartphone sales in the United States,” Duhigg and Lohr report. “If Apple’s claims — which include ownership of minor elements like rounded square icons and of more fundamental smartphone technologies — prevail, it will most likely force competitors to overhaul how they design phones, industry experts say.”

MacDailyNews Take: Read “force competitors to overhaul how they design phones” as “force competitors to stop stealing Apple’s trade dress and patented intellectual property.”

Duhigg and Lohr report, “‘Apple has always stood for innovation,’ the company wrote in a statement in response to questions from The New York Times. ‘To protect our inventions, we have patented many of the new technologies in these groundbreaking and category-defining products. In the rare cases when we take legal action over a patent dispute, it’s only as a last resort. We think companies should dream up their own products rather than willfully copying ours, and in August a jury in California reached the same conclusion.’”

“The evolution of Apple into one of the industry’s patent warriors gained momentum, like many things within the company, with a terse order from its chief executive, Steven P. Jobs,” Duhigg and Lohr report. “It was 2006, and Apple was preparing to unveil the first iPhone… Mr. Jobs gathered his senior managers. While Apple had long been adept at filing patents, when it came to the new iPhone, ‘we’re going to patent it all,’ he declared, according to a former executive who, like other former employees, requested anonymity because of confidentiality agreements.”

Tons more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The article goes deeply into how the patent system is “broken.” Yadda, yadda, yadda. Yes, some changes are needed, but protection is also required. Obviously (see below). Steve sounds like he was past tired of getting ripped off – and rightfully so.

If you can’t see why Apple needs legal protection from theft, you really need to see an eye doctor.

Apple’s products came first, then Samsung’s:

Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Tab Trade Dress Infringement

Here’s what Google’s Android looked like before and after Apple’s iPhone:

Google Android before and after Apple iPhone