Unless Clanet was referring to the design process itself - use an elastic model in a wind tunnel (or simulate the whole thing) and observe it's deformation to determine the shape with the least friction with the air (or call it coefficient of drag, like everyone else does
At first I was thinking it might have been typical media-distorted science, but when they threw in that quote from Clanet, it seemed more that the science is hard to take seriously too.
Why the patent, I couldn't guess, unless it is as others here are saying - patent it so you can sue carriers who want to implement the system to prevent them from crippling the iPhone.
... was a Russian-born American author and professor of biochemistry, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.
I would have thought that most people would conside professors of biochemistry to be scientists...