Apple has obviously produced many innovative products over the years... but they fell behind a while ago and part of the reason is because they can succeed regardless. Apple has done an excellent job of isolating themselves from the rest of the competition. The reason companies like Apple and Bose continue to thrive is not because they make great products (far from it) - it's because they market themselves as if they do and make it virtually impossible to make an accurate comparison. Bose always has their products displayed in a separate section of stores so that they cannot be compared to other speakers. Apple products have Apple OSes and only run approved software - they give the illusion of superiority. Another advantage is that most people who invest in Bose or Apple products do so because they believe they are the best - as a result, they were convinced before they even touched the product. It's like the ridiculous scam emails you receive from Nigeria - they are purposely worded poorly to weed out people too smart to fall for the scam. The people who buy Apple products appreciate things like the "Lightning" connector - they love gimmicks like "iPhone speaker docs" and were happy to run out and buy new ones when "Lightning" was released despite the fact that it makes a lot more sense to just stream via wireless. Apple sells $50 chargers like crazy and they are 98% profit - they made a killing by switching to a new, proprietary connector and complaints were minimal. The competition is forced to conform to standards - the people who buy non-Apple products often do so because they hate feeling like a sucker. The new iPhone finally introduces NFC, which has been available on Android for years, and locks it down to their own Apple Pay system - they market things so well that people see this as an "awesome feature" and even use it as an example of Apple's innovation. The bottom line is that anybody expecting too much out of Apple is going to be disappointed - they have already won and the free market has given them no reason to care about staying ahead of the curve. People camp out for days when the a iPhone is released - the rest of the market does all of the R&D for them and they already know what works and what doesn't. They have an insanely loyal customer base because they suck people into their world and it's difficult to get out (most people don't want out). They're the best because they tell you they are the best and they make it difficult to prove by changing the rules of the game. They get away with putting 1GB of RAM into the iPhone 6 while the new Android devices have to cram in 3GB to stay competitive - Apple has no real competition other than themselves. In a world where pennies per device can add up to billions of dollars the deck is still stacked. Some day they will collapse... but today people seem just as convinced as ever that Apple continues to revolutionize the tech world and they're more than happy to buy their overpriced, locked down hardware and proprietary accessories and software. Brainwashing is powerful stuff and most of the world really doesn't know that much about technology - they know what they're told and what they hear/read/etc - most people don't have a lot of time to think for themselves. At the end of the day these purchases really aren't that big of a deal to most people - they get excited for a few days and then use their devices for day-to-day work or entertainment - it's pretty much all the same crap. People love Apple, people love Beats by Dre, people love Bose (one of the pioneers of being successful cranking out overpriced, gimmicky junk) - marketing trumps quality every single time and you are seeing the masters at work. These guys don't want well-informed individuals buying their stuff - they want clueless people who are successful in other areas of life because they're influential all-around. Genius and proven. So talk about their nosedive in software quality... or the Mac Book Pros that are blowing up... or the new devices that barely improve upon the old ones... but as a company they know exactly what they're doing and they're doing just fine.
Do we really need all of these replies discussing the legality/morality? We get the point -- you're all a bunch of stand-up citizens.
You clearly didn't read the original post: "While nobody can blame them for what they're doing, we can blame the patent system and the entire process that goes with it" The system is the problem - not Apple. The system is what needs to change.
Who said anything about Apple never being sued? Even bullies can be bullied. The bottom line is that as long as the laws remained unchanged, they're all well within their rights to do what they're doing.