The apps you see on billboards and in TV ads? Developers are rarely told about that before they air. Apps installed on the demo iPhones in Apple & ATT stores? Developers find out about those when someone sends them a picture of it. The dozens of of apps featured every week in the nearly 100 different country specific AppStores? The only way you find out about that is after a spike in your daily sales numbers.
That said, I'd be pretty pissed (and looking for a cheap patent lawyer) if one of my apps showed up in a patent filing, but I wouldn't be that surprised.