Looking at Snapchat's patent Ephemeral message galleries it would seem, at least superficially, that vanishing status updates on WhatsApp do exactly what this patent protects. I copy the relevant portion of the first claim below:
A server, comprising:
a processor; and
a memory storing instructions executed by the processor to: maintain an ephemeral gallery comprising a plurality of ephemeral messages posted by a user for viewing by one or more recipients, wherein each of the ephemeral messages comprises a photograph or a video, the maintaining of the ephemeral gallery comprising making the ephemeral gallery available for viewing, upon request, via respective user devices associated with the one or more recipients;
for each of the plurality of ephemeral messages, maintain an associated message duration parameter that indicates a display duration for the corresponding ephemeral message during viewing of the ephemeral gallery, and
maintain a gallery participation parameter that indicates a time value for continued availability of the corresponding ephemeral message in the ephemeral gallery;
responsive to receiving an ephemeral gallery view request from one of the one or more recipients, cause automated sequential display of the plurality of ephemeral messages on a corresponding user device by performance of operations comprising:
starting a message timer when viewing of one of the plurality of the ephemeral messages is commenced,
determining that the message timer expires when the message timer equals the corresponding display duration,
responsive to expiry of the message timer, displaying a next one of the plurality of ephemeral messages in the ephemeral gallery, and repeating the starting, determining, and displaying operations until all ephemeral messages in the ephemeral gallery are viewed;
remove a particular one of the plurality ephemeral messages from the ephemeral gallery in response to the identification of an expired gallery participation parameter corresponding to the particular ephemeral message, the particular ephemeral message after removal thereof being unavailable for recipient viewing as part of the ephemeral gallery; and
eliminate the ephemeral gallery so that the ephemeral gallery is unavailable for viewing responsive to any recipient request, the ephemeral gallery being eliminated upon expiration of either a gallery timer or upon expiration of the gallery participation parameter of a last message in the ephemeral gallery, the last message being that one of the plurality of ephemeral messages which was posted to the ephemeral gallery last.
From what I see on WhatsApp, they effectively do all of it.
Do they actually not (and my reading of the patent is erroneous) or could there be other reasons Snapchat is okay having its patents infringed by the same entity that seems well poised to crush it?