The initial idea behind the patent made sense: by filing them, inventors could prevent others from stealing and profiting from their ideas. But nowadays, it seems like companies use them more or less as legal weapons.

Well, Apple just added a nuclear missile to its arsenal. The US Patent and Trademark Office published a series of 25 newly granted Apple patents yesterday. And one of them virtually covers the entire smartphone…

PatentlyApple reports:

“Apple’s iPhone truly reinvented the smartphone and Apple’s granted patent reflects the broad range of graphical user interface innovations that they brought to market. Apple’s patent covers UI modules covering blogging, email, telephone, camera, video player, calendar, browser, widgets, search, notes, maps and more importantly, a multi-touch interface,”

The patent, known as the ‘134 patent (8,223,134), was originally filed in the first quarter of 2007, and credits Apple’s Senior VP of iOS Software Scott Forstall, among others, as an inventor.

Now that Apple has been granted this patent, we fully expect to see it come up in the company’s slew of US-based patent wars. And given its scope, it seems like it could be extremely effective.