Apple is believed to be working on an iOS version of Microsoft's 3D Paint app. This assumption was made after the Cupertino giant's new patent application became public. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office recently published a patent application from Tim Cook's company, containing what appears to be a confirmation that Apple is developing its answer to Microsoft's Paint 3D, which is the more advanced spinoff of Microsoft Paint. There are details in the patent that mention how Apple is planning to introduce new features to its Apple Pencil peripheral. Among these features is one that will allow users to create 3D images on their iPad tablet.
Tracing the origins of US patent law, Thomas Jefferson stated that an "inventor ought to be allowed a right to the benefit of his invention for some certain time" to encourage "men to pursue ideas which may produce utility." Consistently, under US patent law, an invention requires conception, which is "the formation in the mind of the inventor, of a definite and permanent idea of the complete and operative invention," where the "inventor" refers to an "individual." The Federal Circuit explained that to "perform this mental act, inventors must be natural persons and cannot be corporations or sovereigns." The remainder of the Patent Act is also replete with references to human actions. When the Patent Act was put in place, there was likely no need to characterize the inventive process as being performed by anything other than people, because there were no such other "beings".
The implications of the patent system for information and communication technologies (ICT) has been a focus of debate in recent years. One representative example is the smartphone dispute between Apple and Samsung, which led to over 40 international lawsuits over their design and utility patents between 2012 and 2014. Patents are intended to provide incentives for innovation by granting inventors temporary monopoly rights to profit from their inventions. Therefore, the patent system has the potential to promote new technology development and economic growth. However, ICT products often consist of interlocking inventions.