Today, Apple was awarded a patent for an application filed back in April 2009. This one seems to describe a system just like their Cover Flow.
Keep in mind that we've learned in the past that patent filings are about the claims, not the drawing. However, the claim reads:
The ornamental design of an animated graphical user interface for a display screen or portion thereof, as shown and described.
And it goes on to show several drawings. Note:
The broken line showing of the display screen or portion thereof, electronic device and other features forms no part of the claimed design.
As some of you may know, Apple has been in the middle of a legal battle with a company called Mirror Worlds over patent infringement. Mirror Worlds claims that certain parts of Apple's operating systems, such as their Cover Flow (found on iOS and on Mac OS) are infringing their patents. It's not clear exactly what the legalities are, nor do we claim to be patent experts, but the patent system sure does seem broken when one sees that this patent was granted.