Apple are currently sueing HTC for┬ápatent infringement. They have taken up issue with about 20 patents that they hold ranging from the method of unlocking the phone to “GMSK Signal Processors for Improved Communications Capacity and Quality”.

This got me thinking about the patent system and with Apple releasing OS 4.0 for it’s iPods, iPhones and now iPads introducing new features that users have demanded for a while.┬áMost of the issues resolved in this release and previous ones had been addressed by the homebrew community who wrote apps for jailbroken devices. The app ‘Backgrounder‘ allowed a jailbroken device to put services and apps into the background to allow multi tasking much in the same way that Apple introduced in 4.0. ‘Clippy‘ brought the iProducts the basic function of Copy and Paste before it’s inclusion into the software.

What I wondered is if the developers behind these apps could have patented their techniques for these procedures on the iProducts meaning that Apple would have had to pay them to use their methods? I’ve no clue about patent law and so don’t know if it’s even possible to do, but I would like to find out.