Apple granted 10 patents for design
various layers of the virtual QWERTY on the phone. Other design patents awarded to the company revolve around the Apple iPhone's UI and 5 icons for Camera, Podcasts, Photos, Artists and Featured. Each of the icons are pictured with the corresponding patent number underneath it.
While always important, patents have become a very valuable corporate asset these days in light of the many lawsuits going back and forth in the cellular industry relating to alleged patent infringement. And of course, getting its hand on Motorola's patent portfolio was the reason behind Google's proposed purchase of Motorola Mobility. We recently told you that with 1,000 patents to its name, Apple trails other big companies in the industry like Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and LG.
source: PatentlyApple via MobileSyrup