Apple blocks Samsung sales. Samsung blocks Apple sales. Apple ban overturned. Samsung ban lifted. On any given day it’s hard to keep track of which company’s smartphones, tablet computers or other products are temporarily banned in which countries.
And it’s not just Apple and Samsung which are at each other’s throats – it seems that every week brings new stories of alleged patent infringement involving companies ranging from household names like HTC to more obscure outfits like VirnetX. (In case you’re wondering, Apple was recently ordered to pay $368 million to Connecticut-based VirnetX after a US court ruled that its Facetime video chat tool infringed two of VirnetX’s patents).
A recent study found that if every software producing firm in America wanted to check just the new software patents issued in a given year, about two million patent attorneys working full time would be needed to do the job.