The little rubber boot is not even remotely something that patents should protect. You are subscribing to the faulty, revisionist "dibs" model of patents.
The bargain made in patents is that society provides protection, in exchange for the inventor disclosing how their machine works. The alternative, as was the case prior to patents, was that guilds were very secretive about their processes and technologies, and if something happened to the guild, the technology disappeared along with them. The patent bargain was made to bring their technological secrets into the public domain.
In the case of a rubber boot on an ethernet cable, there is nothing to disclose. You can figure out all there is to it by looking at it for 2 seconds. There is nothing consequential for society to reverse engineer in lieu of a patent. Protecting a rubber boot with patent protection is a terrible deal for society.