Apple has been awarded a patent that appears to cover much of the iPhone's multitouch user interface.
World of Apple (via MacRumors) spotted the patent, which was awarded last Tuesday to several Apple executives, including Steve Jobs, iPhone software chief Scott Forstall, and Wayne Westerman, one of the founders of a company called Fingerworks that Apple acquired in 2005.
The patent is extremely long, and covers many of the methods used by the iPhone to display data, such as pinch-to-zoom Web browsing and swipe-to-scroll.
This patent likely influenced COO Tim Cook's comments the day after it was awarded that iPhone competitors should understand that Apple "will not stand for having our (intellectual property) ripped off, and we'll use whatever weapons that we have at our disposal." Those comments, made during Apple's fiscal first-quarter earnings call, were believed to be intended for Palm even though Cook did not single out any particular company in making his comments.
The full patent is available here.