Apple (AAPL) is willing to share its hardware and software with rivals, but the company’s unique designs are apparently off-limits. As TmoNews notes, Apple’s patent litigation settlement with HTC (2498) includes patents for hardware and software but excludes any patents for design or trade dress. Or as TmoNews puts it, Apple has steadfastly refused to license patents “that revolved around anything Apple is concerned makes its products unique.” This isn’t terribly surprising, especially since Apple’s high-profile lawsuit against Samsung involved a lot of design patents that neither company was willing to budge on. It seems that the look and feel of Apple products is significantly more important to the company than any particular hardware or software functionality.