Believe it or not, Steve Jobs and Apple (AAPL) weren’t always the schoolyard bullies of patents. In fact, the Cupertino-based company rarely patented any of its technologies prior to the iPhone. But following a $100 million lawsuit from Creative Technology in 2006 targeting its iPod MP3 player, however, Steve Jobs vowed to “patent it all,” according to a report from The New York Times. Jobs and Apple engineers would reportedly hold monthly “invention disclosure sessions,” where the team would describe what projects were being worked on and a lawyer would decide whether or not the projects could be patented.
Even if the idea was deemed unpatentable, an application would be filed anyway.
“If nothing else, it prevents another company from trying to patent the idea,” a former Apple lawyer said.
The iPhone-maker has been granted more than 4,100 patents since 2001 and for the first time last year the company spent more money on patenting ideas than on research and development. In recent years Apple has used its massive patent portfolio to sue rival companies such as Samsung (005930), HTC (2498) and countersue Motorola and Nokia (NOK).
[Via Cult of Mac]