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A Chief Executive's Attention To Detail, Noted In 313 Patents

Publication Date: 
August 25, 2011
The New York Times
Miguel Helft and Shan Carter

Professor Mark Lemley is quoted in this New York Times article where he discusses the involvement Steve Jobs had in 313 patents during his reign at Apple.

When people in the technology industry speak of Steven P. Jobs’s knack for design, they often have Apple’s iconic products in mind: the early all-in-one Macintosh computers, the first iMacs with their brightly colored and translucent cases, and more recently, the various iPods, iPhones and iPads.

But what about the striking glass staircases in many of Apple’s stores? Mr. Jobs led their design — and has his name on two patents Apple received for that design.


“If you put someone’s name who didn’t participate, your patent could be invalidated,” said Mark Lemley, a law professor at Stanford University.


Mr. Lemley and others said Mr. Jobs was likely to have had an especially prominent role in patents where his name appears first. There are 33 of those, including the two related to the glass staircase. One of those covers the look of the staircase and its structure, describing “a monolithic glass member for supporting loads.”