HP granted patent for webOS user interface? Yep. A year ago.
News has been making the rounds today that HP was just last week issued a patent last week for the webOS user interface. Technically, this is correct, patent US8373673 B2 was granted and published on 12 February 2013. The patent was filed on 20 December 2011 - after HP announced plans to open source webOS - and bore the names of Daniel Shiplacoff, Matias Duarte, Jeremy Lyon, and Richard Dellinger.
There's just one catch: this was a continuing patent application, as it says in the first line of the description. The original application (US 2009/0278806 A1) for the webOS user interface was filed on 6 May 2008. If you're doing the math, yes, more than eight months before the Palm Pre was unveiled at CES 2009. That application was followed up in more webOSy detail on 20 July 2009 with application US 2010/0185989 A1 - after the Pre had launched. That patent was granted and published on 17 April 2012 as US8159469 (well after HP had purchased Palm, revealed and launched the TouchPad, killed all webOS hardware that would use these patented interfaces, and started into the open sourcing process).
The 'news' of the most recent webOS user interface patent granting comes courtesy of Patently Apple (why are you guys putting your watermark on images you've pulled from a public patent application?), who strangely said that this patent "breathes a little life into their various ongoing projects"… which makes absolutely no sense for an open source project.
That's alright, we get it. Research is hard.
Source: Google Patents