Microsoft recently got their patent for one of the most unique thing on Windows 8, its Start Screen. Yes, Live Tiles arranged on a background is now patented by Microsoft. In 2011, Microsoft got their patent on Windows Phone Start Screen UI. You can read about it here. You can find the two patents related to Windows Phone Start Screen UI here and here.
Recently, Samsung announced a new Magazine UX for its tablets. It is basically a tweaked version of Windows 8 Start experience. Yes, you got large Live Tiles for different apps which you can arrange on your home screen similar to what Windows 8.1 provides to users now. I guess, patents like this might stop companies like Samsung from copying their designs.