macuser: Patents do make sense, Trademarks also make sense! Some patent hoarders don't.
Imagine if you were in a business where you sold a product, that looked and functioned a way that no other product does, which attracted customers because they specifically sort out your product as they hear it works great!
And then another manufacturer comes along selling a product on the virtue that it's just like yours, it looks like yours, works like yours meaning that the customer that once recognizes your product for it's specific traits is now confused! Not good.
It would piss me off if someone copied all my photographs, inspiration is fine, I'm inspired by other photographers work, but I try not to copy it.
Bringing google up, they're a cool company, but they're inherently not creative, it's a company of software engineers, there isn't a lot of taste involved. Mircrosoft is filling itself with those who have taste, and it's nice, Windows Phone 7 is beautiful!
Moral of my story is that I believe that companies have a right to defend their trademarks and IP if it makes their product unique, but I think IP that doesn't go far enough to make their product individual shouldn't stand up in court.
This whole argument over the patents is a bit silly. You can have a phone or tablet that looks good, has a nice UI by making one. WP7 is an example as are Android phones that aren't made to look like an iPhone, apart from the UI. If you make a car that in outward appearances (Form factor) looks like a 2008 Corona, and inside it does too (UI) then what do you expect?? Make a nice looking car, with a nice inside and take on the competition, thats what I say.
What would I know, I'm an iPhone user and according to the Android guys its coz Im too simple, so that's why I have one, :-) I did get a kick out of a thread saying iTunes is too hard to use, so he said to use Windows Explorer, or an alternative which looked like iTunes, just more basic. But I digress!