"I think that Apple are starting to make themselves look stupid and are close to becoming a laughing stock."
That's one way of looking at it, but it isn't mine.
Patent infringements can have serious consequences for a business (or an individual) when a great deal of time and money has gone into conceiving of and developing a unique technological advance. Big technology companies may file hundreds of patent claims in an average year, and they jealously guard what - to them - is the life-blood of their business. In the world of technology you innovate or die, and if you believe that someone else has infringed one of your patent rights without so much as a by your leave you fire up a bunch of company lawyers.
Apple has grown great on innovation. The company is famous for its 'object of desire' development strategies, and - so far - there have been more successes than failures. What will happen, now that Steve Jobs has announced he's to step down as Apple's CEO is anyone's guess.