Re: The law is a Ass
"Apple copied and was influenced by everyone ELSE. Period."
Wrong. Apple has spent a lot of effort working out how to use computers. They don't just draw silly icons, etc, they actually try lots of different ideas and come up with the best ideas. That is not as simple as it sounds. Yes, they have used technologies invented elsewhere, but they have showed "this is how to use this thing in the integrated whole". Apple puts things together. Examples - the mouse - previously a technical curiosity. Floppy disks - Wozniak put these on the Apple II where others used tape.
Companies like Samsung and before them Microsoft see that, think it is simple and copy it, stealing Apple's return on investment. It is hard to protect that by patent law and maybe patent law really isn't the right thing - but it's all they have.
I know people are going to vote down this post because it exposes the ignorance of the industry, and then they are going to say that "Apple copied from Xerox", but here is the real story that I have told before:
Douglas Englebart invented the mouse around 1963, not Xerox PARC. Jef Raskin at Apple was doing similar stuff to PARC and knew those guys. Raskin did his Ph.D in the 1960s on the graphics package that became Apple's Quickdraw. He was working at Apple doing similar stuff to the Xerox guys. It was Raskin who suggested to Jobs that he take up PARC's invitation to go and see what they were doing.
PARC invited industry players in Apple, Tektronix, and IBM to view their stuff, because they had been ordered by Xerox HQ on the East Coast to drop what they were doing - it wasn't Xerox's core business. Tektronix and IBM didn't get it. But Jobs did. And the Xerox PARC guys were amazed how Jobs got it, since Xerox, Tektronix, and IBM didn't. Some at PARC realised it was the end of the road there, so those like Alan Kay and Larry Tesler left PARC to further this technology at Apple. They went on Apple's payroll, so were rewarded for their efforts.
Apple still took considerable risks to develop this technology. The other part of the story is how PARC machines cost nearly $100,000, but Apple managed to put it in a machine selling for $10,000 (the Lisa), and then $2,000 (the Mac).
Apple also did not exactly copy the PARC interface. Pull down menus at the top of the screen were Apple's innovation.
Now Bill Gates did illegally copy Apple's stuff - particularly Quickdraw that was Raskin's.
So when people say "Well, Apple just copied off Xerox" - they really don't know what they are talking about.