I know US patent law is liberal, but that's ridiculously thin. It seems that every half-baked idea that pops into a designer's head is thrown into the patent bin, and a big chunk of those are actually approved. Not only does that stifle budding inventors and companies, it makes a mockery of what an invention actually is.
I have been an Apple products user for about 7 years now. I've been an evangelizer for their products within my circles since then. However, I cannot back this move by Apple. Using a patent for bounce-back, or pinch-to-zoom against anyone is bull-shit.
During the '90s, and into the next decade, many considered Microsoft the enemy, the malevolent gate keeper to their technological world. Forums would be littered with references to "MicroShaft," or "M$," so strong was the resentment from certain quarters. At this same time, Apple was something of the plucky, hipster upstart. Having a Mac was cool, it also meant -- albeit in a small way -- you were sticking it to the man. You were free from the "Mon$ter's" grip.
I am nothing but one of the billions of customers for Apple. And they really don't care if I buy any of their products. However, Apple was more than a device maker in my book. They championed change and called out bullshit when it did not help us, the consumers. With this trial, Apple has lost that place. They were the few corporations that protected our interests and today they proved otherwise. Today marks the beginning of a new moniker - "APP£€."
It is a sad moment indeed.
Update: 08/26: I am against stealing. In fact, I don't agree with Steve Jobs's whole "great artists steal" usage. The big disappointment for me through the trial is Apple giving up on the high road.