It was patent-grantin' day at the USPTO on Tuesday, and while most of the patents handed out to Apple, HP, Microsoft and others were pretty boring, it looks like Apple patent number D613,300 is going to make some waves -- it's a design patent on Apple's Cover Flow UI element. That's a design patent, not a utility patent, so it covers the look of the system and not its functionality; think of it as covering the distinctive shape of a Coke bottle and not how it works and you'll get it. That means Apple now has the ability to sue anyone using a system that looks "substantially similar" to Cover Flow, so Symbian^3 and Songbird are probably in for some changes. We'll see what happens -- it's not like anyone's called the lawyers in. Yet.
P.S.- We were going to include the HP Slate here, but we went back and watched the video and ironically enough they're actually faking flick scrolling a Cover Flow view using iTunes -- an app that doesn't actually support flick scrolling. Sigh, HP.