I was pretty shocked by the jury verdict that allowed Apple to assert proprietorship over things like pinch zoom and icon design in their proxy war with Google via Samsung. Apparently, others are too. Slate urged us to imagine the state of our world had a single car company been allowed to claim rights to the design of the steering wheel, forcing all others to create different means for directing a vehicle. Never mind if the steering wheel was the most obvious, best design. Had a single auto manufacturer been allowed to patent the steering wheel, all others would be using levers, knobs and joysticks for cars and the auto market would effectively be captured by a single company that filed its patent first.
Watching TED tonight, I saw this reality check on where patent law has brought us. Take a look: