Yet again there is trouble surrounding patents when it comes to Apple and Samsung. I doubt that things like this would be happening if Apple hadn't had their day in court with Samsung earlier in the year but, either way, more and more is happening when it comes to patents in the mobile arena. There's now something a little more sinister going on here with the US Department of Justice said to be looking into Samsung's use of particular patents against Apple. The patents in question are standard-essential patents that are, as you guessed it, essential for what you need to do. Without the lincesing of some of these patents then Apple would struggle to do what they do after all, they are the newcomer to the mobile industry - alot of people and press out there seem to forget that it's Apple who have been playing catchup all these years.
Apple recently filed with the International Trade Commission that revealed another ongoing antitrust investigation regarding FRAND pledged - "Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory" - patents that fall under the standard-essential banner. In the filing Apple revealed that the US DoJ are investigating Samsung's alleged abuse of such patents:
"The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the manner in which Samsung has used--or misused--its declared-essential patents"
As much as we'd like to believe that Apple could well be crying Wolf I doubt even Apple would try such a thing with the DoJ and the ITC after all, without the ITC pandering to Apple's requests - who would get Android devices took off the shelves? This isn't the first time that Samsung are facing fire for their handling of their SEP patents. It's been revealed the South Korean Fair Trade Commission are looking into the company, as is Europe's counterpart. It's certainly looking like Samsung may well be facing some trouble over this.
Regulators all around the world are becoming increasingly concerned surrounding companies' use of SEP patents to hold power over their competitors as this could result in a curbing of innovation in the sector. Let's not forget also, that these disputes are nothing but a drain on the economy, the money spent on lawsuits and lawyers could be pored back into research to further bolster economies worldwide. The way it's going however it looks like there's going to be no end in site for such disputes and that perhaps Samsung might come under fire over this more than they'd like.