Steve Jobs is Still Filing Patents for Apple! Here’s How

Did you know 12 new Apple patents published in 2023 have Steve Jobs credited as one of the inventors?

The former CEO was well-known for his iconic design choices and proactive approach to patenting everything. To this date, Steven P. Jobs has 1,158 patents credited in total, of which 377 are utility-based and 781 are design patents. 145 among these were awarded after his demise in 2011. Interestingly, Apple’s current CEO, Tim Cook, has no patents to his name. 

The last patent Jobs applied for was the dramatic glass cube for the entrance to the Apple store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York. It was granted in 2012. So, how do we still see Steve Jobs’s name in Apple’s recent patents?

This brief report entails reasons and scenarios why Apple still files patents with Steve Jobs’s name among the inventors.

The first and ideal thought goes to the patents he filed that were still being reviewed. So, we started our search from there.

Steve Jobs’s Older Patents are Getting Approved


Credit: New York Times

Some complicated patents can take upwards of a few months or even years to be granted. 145 patents that Steve, among other inventors, applied for before his demise was granted afterward. 

Our analysts explored patent databases using in-house tools, looking for intriguing updates to Steve’s expansive patent portfolio. We discovered many patents granted quite recently with Jobs’s name in them but were filed over a decade ago.

Here are the top 20 most cited patents applied on or before 2011, with Steve credited as one of the inventors.

Patent NumberApplication YearPublished YearNumber of Citations

However, not all the patents crediting Steve Jobs were applied before 2011

Steve played a significant role in creating many of Apple’s core products. Tim Wasko, the developer of Apple’s QuickTime, remembers that Steve had valuable comments and suggestions that made him worthy of a place on the patents. Most of his involvement was in hardware design and core UI patents.

Here is a list of Apple’s recently published patents filed after 2018 that carry Steve Jobs’s name. 

Note: The list is analyzed on our in-house patent database, SLATE.

Patent NumberTitleApplication Year
USD976939S1Display Screen Or Portion Thereof With Graphical User Interface2020
USD987620S1Portable Computer2021
USD978857S1Portable Display Device2020
USRE49429E1Computing Device2021
USD986882S1Portable Display Device2019
USD987624S1Portable Display Device2021
US11586348B2Portable Multifunction Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface Supporting User Navigations Of Graphical Objects On A Touch Screen Display2021
US11604559B2Editing Interface2021
AU2022201622B2Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics2022
USD998606S1Electronic Device2019
US20230261685A1Portable Electronic Device With Two-Piece Housing2023
AU2023216869A1Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics2023

We were surprised by the number of new additions to Steve’s patent portfolio. But diving further, we found that the priority dates for all these patents are earlier than 2010. It’s evident that Apple still follows in his footsteps, incrementally innovating over his base ideas.  

Read more: Apple’s Trillion-Dollar Business Strategy

Continuation of Steve Jobs’s Granted Patents

Deceased inventors can still win patents if the inventors seek a continuation of the IP. The continuation of a patent usually comes in the form of updated versions of the older patent. 

Apple has ample resources to pour into this activity. Hence, we see lots of their older patents getting updated through continuation.

Let’s take an example of one such legacy patent- Electronic Device.


This patent was initially filed in April 2008 and published in October 2009. We chose this patent because it’s one of Apple’s most valuable and foundational IP assets. Therefore, it will have many citations and updates done over the decades.

Below are all the updates and continuations of the same patent till the latest revision. Our analysts use GreyB’s vast IP libraries and in-house AI tools to get these highly specific results.

Patent NumberApplication YearPublished Year
USD615083S1June 2008May 2010
USD620004S1September 2009July 2010
USD629799S1March 2010December 2010
USD633090S1July 2010February 2011
USD675612S1February 2011February 2013
USD696663S1September 2012December 2013 
USD724078S1September 2013March 2015
USD778278S1November 2013February 2017
USD869460S1February 2017December 2019
USD922999S1December 2019June 2021
USD925523S1July 2020July 2021

Each time there’s an update or continuation like the ones above, the patent’s inventors’ names make headlines again. Since Apple has many more Steve Jobs patents covering core technologies, his name repeatedly appears in patent systems accompanying the new application. Yet Apple isn’t the only company keeping Steve’s legacy alive.

Other Patents referencing Steve Jobs’s Patents

When inventors patent a new property based on Steve Jobs’ invention, they must reference his existing patents. In this event, Steve’s name is also attributed as an inventor of this new patent. Here are some examples of other companies collaborating with Apple, whose patents list Steve Jobs as an inventor. 

Savant Systems, a Massachusetts-based home automation company, worked with Apple to create a mechanism for remotely controlling the motion of a vehicle using a wireless mobile device. They filed the patent application in 2014, which was granted in 2016. They submitted an updated patent in 2016, which was granted in 2019. Steve Jobs’s name was among the inventors in both these patents.

Similarly, Teslamedics Inc. and Apple filed a patent application for the design of a media player progress bar granted in 2012. This patent was based on the original patent of that family, published in 2003. Apple remains the sole assignee of this patent, and Steve Jobs is among the inventors.


You can learn much about a company’s market value and upcoming business plans by analyzing patterns in its IP strategy. Being a pioneer in the IP R&D space, GreyB has the expertise and resources to help you cut through the noise and get actionable insights on a company or innovator. 

When the contributions made by an inventor are so fundamentally revolutionary, they ought to be cited long after their time. Being an official inductee at the National Inventors’ Hall of Fame and celebrated as a visionary at the World Intellectual Property Day 2012, Jobs has earned the rite of passage to be included in the modern-day innovations that often build upon the foundations of his life’s work.

We’ve prepared a comprehensive report on Steve Jobs’s patents for your reference. Click the link below for a mental map of Steve’s product-specific patents and their impact on Apple’s business on Insights Gate.

Steve Jobs Patent Insights

Authored By: Hemanth Shenoy, Market Research

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