The US patent system is broken. There is not really much more to say about that it is and has been broken for many years and probably will continue to be broken for many years to come. Now why am I bringing this up? Well in looking over the way patents are filed, processed, and approved you will find that there are a large number of patents that are essentially the same thing just with a little twist. This type of patent allows for someone to put a legal hold on a very broad concept and then comeback and sue someone at a later date. Over the last few years we have watched a number of companies work the system with this type of patent and worse.
Apple has been granted leniency for infringing on Samsung’s standards essential patents (SEP). It seems that the White House decided that they just could not allow a ban even though the International Trade Commission ruled that Apple did in fact violate Samsung’s patents. Now bear in mind that these patents, because they are SEP, have to be offered under FRAND (Fair Reasonable, and Non Discriminatory) licensing agreements. This means that Samsung cannot charge outrageous fees to anyone as the SEP technologies are required to build certain devices. What it does not mean is that a company can refuse to pay any fees at all; this is what Apple did to Samsung at the same time they were trying to sue them in court for trade dress violations, a patent that claimed the shape of a smartphone, and other non-specific patents.
In Saudi Arabia, there is no joking about the data traffic that comes out of the country, and therefore apps such as Skype, Viber and WhatsApp could soon be in serious problem. The government has announced through the telecom operators that if they don’t start start to censor messages sent from these services, they will seriously think about how to ban their use.