Since his death in 2011 till 2014, Steve Jobs’ patent wins were more than most inventors win during their lifetimes. Counting them all, it was 141 patents in total. Let’s take a look at the patents legacy of Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs had always been involved in the designing of many Apple products since ages, and some of his inventions are still working their way through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The sheer details of the products show how deeply Steve Jobs was involved in designing the key features of apple products.
Steve Jobs’ patent documents show a good record of Apple’s history from being a startup to one of the world’s largest and innovative companies. Steve Jobs won his first patent named “Personal Computer” in 1983 which was approved recently in last year in August after his death.
Can Apple succeed without the patents of Steve Jobs?
Out of the total 458 patents filed by Apple company (2011-2014), around one-third of them were filed by Steve Jobs. Most of them were related to the design of the Apple products. Apple’s current CEO, Tim Cook, a pragmatic supply chain specialist, who rose through the company making sure Chinese factories delivered iPhones on time, cannot live on the legacy of Steve Jobs patents, according to some Apple watchers. Cook’s name has never appeared on any patent.
Many times in the field of Journalism, Apple’s legacy related with the Steve Jobs’ patents has been debated. Many see the future of Apple being doomed if Steve Jobs’ patents had not been there. But Apple has not yet slowed down. It has announced promising new products like the Apple Watch and a payment system, Apple Pay. And Apple’s sales keep increasing—annual revenue has more than doubled to $182 billion since Cook took the reins.
In 2012, Jobs was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Still, according to many who love argue, Steve Jobs’ patents have not made great differences or cut through as one of the greatest American inventors in history. Many of Jobs’s patents are on designs—like the look and feel of the iPhone—not on more substantial technical advances.
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“Whether Steve Jobs was a great inventor depends on whether one is prepared to define the term extremely broadly. I’m convinced that if true American inventors like Edison, Bell, and Whitney looked upon Steve Jobs’s achievements and contributions, they would undoubtedly respect the man for what he’s done but they wouldn’t consider him one of their own”, says Mueller.
Another criticism is that on his patents, Steve Jobs’s name often appears alongside a score of others, meaning these inventions or designs weren’t entirely of Jobs’s making. Instead, Jobs shared credit for what Apple’s more than 80,000 employees did.
According to Tim Wasko, who developed the interface for Apple’s QuickTime player and the iPod, Steve Jobs gave feedback on small details, and he’d often end up with a position on the patents.
Interesting events on Steve Jobs’ patents:
In 2012, during a lawsuit with Motorola and Google, a Chicago judge got annoyed with the Apple’s lawyers and had to tell them to stop referring to a key patent covering swiping and scrolling on touch screens as “the Steve Jobs patent.” Her reasoning: Apple’s lawyers were trying to turn the case into a popularity contest by invoking the beloved Apple founder.
Even as Jobs became ill in 2011, Apple’s lawyers kept filing patents in his name every few days, including one for a variation of the Mac’s scrolling toolbar, on October 4, 2011, the day before he passed away.
And the legacy of Steve Jobs’ patents keeps growing bigger even after his death. But most of those patents refer to the personal interests of Steve Jobs like a 260-foot super yacht, Venus, Apple Pencil, Button design, scrolling systems etc.
Maybe, Steve Jobs was one of the greatest inventors but do his patents really qualify the gravity of the patents in today’s world in terms of serving to the humanity? What’s your pick on this? We would like to know in the comments below.