I am wondering if Gui’s can be copyrighted/protected in some way.
If this is the case, it makes it hard to build on users previous mental models. I.e. when no one else is allowed to use the File/Edit/View bar and everyone has to use a different approach to achieve this same goal.
I came across some interesting articles about the Microsoft/Apple UI wars
What you say is true, but the purpose of any business is to make money, and creating a differentiated/valued user-experience is a great way to do that. Honestly, the only reason that UI’s are so similar is that people allow them to be (Apple for instance licenses the one-click privilege from Amazon.) I think there’s a lot of infringement out there that’s simply un-challenged because companies aren’t valuing their IP enough.