iLook at Steve Jobs' Legal Legacy

By Robyn Hagan Cain on October 07, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We have a suite of Apple products at home. We use iTunes every day. We learned to program BASIC on an Apple IIE. So, next to Henry Ford, Steve Jobs has been the most notable American innovator in our life.

FindLaw even named our office mascot - a life-sized plastic goose - Jobs after the Great Steve. (Jobs the Goose is currently wearing a black neck tie in mourning.)

As we mull Jobs' impact on technology innovation over the last 35 years, we also began to consider his impact on the legal world. Everyone knows that he was a tech innovator, but what will Steve Jobs' legal legacy be? Here is just a small sampling:

  • Trusts the Man. Reports emerged yesterday that Steve and Laurene Jobs placed multiple properties in trusts two years ago while Jobs was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer, reports Reuters. Legal experts speculate that Jobs, who was notoriously private, wanted to keep information about his assets out of California probate courts and public records.
  • 2001 iOdyssey. Apple filed a patent infringement lawsuit against mobile device rival Samsung in April, claiming that Samsung "slavishly" copied Apple's iPhone and iPad. Samsung fired back an I'm-rubber-and-you're-glue defense, claiming the Jobs and Apple copied Stanley Kubrick's tablet-computer design from the 1969 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Sexting Abstinence: Last year Apple received a patent on technology that could prevent the use of sexting by hormonal teens. Although there are no reports since the patent grant of the commercial availability of an anti-app, parents throughout the country still have their fingers crossed.

Most people will overlook Steve Jobs' legal legacy when they consider his impact on the world, but Jobs and Apple always kept life interesting for lawyers. He is missed.

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