Will Software Patents Destroy the Smartphone Industry?

I will admit it.  I am an Apple junkie.  Our house is home to two Macs, two iPhones, an iPad, and an iPod Touch (not to mention a few old devices gathering dust in a bin).  But I am also a bit torn on the patent battles that continue to rage between smartphone companies.  The iPhone, for example, completely revolutionized the mobile phone industry and all of the other device manufacturers "emulated" it.  If you don't believe me, check out this graphic.  But the headlines over lawsuits, injunctions, and other forms of legal maneuvering are becoming daily reading. Now it's about to get worse.  Apple was granted a number of patents this week that will only make the patent battles more absurd.  In particular, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent to Apple relating to the iPhone's graphical user interface for displaying electronic lists and documents, which, in particular, according to Patently Apple "covers UI modules covering blogging, email, telephone, camera, video player, calendar, browser, widgets, search, notes, maps and more importantly, a multi-touch interface."  If you thought the battles over software patents so far were ridiculous (and many serious people do), these new patents should bring it to a new level and keep patent lawyers salivating.