The worrisome thing about this is that they are patenting these applications (see the drawing in the article). They certainly did not invent the glass staircase, and the technology and detailing is very straightforward. Next thing we know, they patented very standard architectural details and we no longer can use them. This intellectual property nonsense can be very detrimental to our profession.
General arrangements of elements cannot be patented, so a "glass stair, with laminated glass stringers using stainless metal fittings" will never be patented. There is no fear of our design abilities being limited because one firm patents the specific hardware used to build one specific type of glass stair. You may still design all the glass stairs you like, but you can't explicitly copy *this* design. If they make the hardware available as a product, you may purchase and use it in your own design.
What we should all be pleased about is that Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, with Apple as clients, has pushed glass manufacturers to increase their manufacturing and technology to the point that we can *all* specify ever-more humongous pieces of strong glass!
(Not that I would ever do so, because I don't think glass should ever be structural except to support its own weight. But that's a personal preference based on my over active worst-case-scenario imagination.)
I recall seeing something similar to this in Brazil a number of years ago. It was in a building which was the first Braziian Telephone Company. It had been turned into a museum of sorts dealing with technology. The glass stairs were to die for. I don't think Apple had anything to do with this project. I took a ton of pictures.....but they are lost in digital history.
Hopefully when the Lawyers come looking in the fight over Patents....they will see it was nothing but and old idea, being tried again. So much of Architecture is. The more I look at the new stuff I see the old stuff. When I look at Green all I see is Greed, thanks to Major Coporations, who give a tootle, and are selling product thru marketing green.