If this next bit of news doesn't get you disgusted at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the general state of the Patent System in the U.S., then you may just be too calloused by all the negative patent news we have had for the last three years. (We wouldn't blame you) Still, regardless of your relative level of outrage regarding this story, we thought it was worth reporting that Apple has just been granted what could be the most damaging and powerful smartphone patent of them all. In fact, the folks at Phandroid called it, " the mother of all smartphone software patents," and it could potentially be abused by Apple to lock out practically every other smartphone in existence.

This new patent (No. 8,223,134) basically covers the graphical user interfaces Apple designed for blogging, email, telephone, camera, video player, calendar, browser, widgets, search, notes, maps and other multi-touch interfaces. The patent's scope is so broad that it could be the "thermonuclear" weapon that Apple might finally launch against their competitors. In fact, the patent is so vague and all-encompassing it could potentially allow Apple to go after developers of apps and other smartphone platforms.

Despite how horrifying this news could potentially be, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise. If Apple does decide to "push the button" on this doomsday device, it might be the final straw that will draw enough attention to just how trashed the U.S. Patent system has become. In fact, Apple may even foresee this and it may cause them to hesitate to use it. What do you think will happen?

Source: Phandroid