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CEO and cofounder of Google Sergey Brin wearing a Google Glass during a product demonstration for Google I/O 2012, Moscone Center, San Francisco, June 27, 2012. Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters.

APPLE HAS FILED PATENTS for Pinch-to-Zoom, Slide-to-Unlock, Multifinger Twisting, Double-Tap-to-Zoom, and Over-Scroll Bounce, aka Rubber-Banding, among other functional finger gestures. The company is indisputably striving to corner the market on how we move our fingers across screens, how we scan and massage images. This was evident in August, when Apple won a major copyright-infringement lawsuit against Samsung and was awarded one billion dollars in damages, bringing us closer to the apocalypse Steve Jobs augured a few years ago in his Herman Kahn–inspired attack on Google’s Android OS: “I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

The patent war to end all wars—Apple has recently been involved in scores of lawsuits with other technology companies, many of which are also suing one another—may limit innovation and inhibit usability: Imagine every manufacturer implementing

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