Re: Press release
People are knee-jerking against Apple as if Apple developed the damned thing. They didn't. They're just a retailer who don't want to get caught up in the backlash if it proves that PRC have valid patents. (And I suspect they do.)
Yes, the original PRC product is expensive, but so was the app they're suing about: a virtual sound-board shouldn't be costing hundreds of dollars, yet that's what they were charging for it! At least PRC were selling a combined ruggedised hardware + software device that did the same job, so you can understand why it'd be priced high for what is, to be fair, a very niche market.
If you work for, and are trained by, a company that has patented its research, then leave it to set up your own company in direct competition with them, you can bet your arse they're going to sue. Only an idiot wouldn't have seen this coming.
Also, do read the relevant patents carefully: it's not the basic "touch an image on a screen and hear a sound" part they're talking about. It's the user interface that PRC spent years researching and refining that's under contention here. The specific grouping of words mentioned in the article is a key element of the infringement charges.
Somebody has to pay for research, as even researchers need to eat and pay the rent. You can either pay for research indirectly through taxes—i.e. everyone pays a small slice—or directly when purchasing the resulting products / services. Even universities now maintain their own pools of patents and other IP for licensing.