Apple will certainly take this as far as they possibly can - we've seen many times in various patent disputes how far Apple will take litigation.
I hope that they do. As has been pointed out, it seem fairly certain that there's nothing on the phone, as the owner was using iCloud backups, and was fairly thorough with the destruction of his other devices.
I still like the idea (iDea?) of Apple sayin okey-dokey, bring it here, attaching it to a device and "accidentally" bricking it.