I disagree with your analogy in which you compare stealing a car with patent grabbing.
Um, no. I said that stealing a car with the keys inside is still stealing; despite the fact that the car owner "enabled" the theft by being careless with the keys.
In the same way, being a jerk with patents is being a jerk, despite the fact that the USPTO "enables" patent jerks by granting patents that should not be granted.
Even if Apple were to have freed every one of their smartphone inventions, there would still be lawyers arguing that those inventions are not comprehensive, that their client has patents that fall between the gaps.
Your language loads the question here. You presuppose that Apple "invented" everything that they patented; I think some of it has prior art, some of it is obvious (like the patent on dialing a number by touching the number on the touchscreen), and some of it is probably genuinely new and interesting but by now I'm predisposed to assume Apple is a jerk.
And as for your main point, you are simply mistaken. If Apple had not patented anything, but just made a public demo of the iPhone, nobody would be able to file a patent after that and use the patent to hammer Apple. Apple's iPhone would now be prior art. If you disagree, please post some sort of reference to any example that would disprove this idea.
I work at an IP company, and it has been hammered into me not to disclose anything that might be patentable, because once the idea has been publicly disclosed, it becomes not patentable. I'm not a lawyer of course.
the analogy here is a defense system vs having weapons of your own.
I understand the possible use of patents as a defense. For example, Google: I am not aware of any case where Google tried to shut down a competitor using patents. This despite the fact that they own many patents.
However, Apple has been trying to use patents to prevent Samsung from selling phones. I have a problem with that.
you can't blame one company for doing it in a world in which everyone has the bomb.
Um, the whole point of my comment is that I do blame one company for doing this. I blame Apple, I blame Microsoft, I blame any company that is getting egregiously bad patents and enforcing them.