Lodsys Files Lawsuits Against App Developers In Response To Apple’s “Threat”

Lodsys today filed lawsuits against several iOS developers for patent infringement. Specifically, FOSS Patents notes that Combay, Iconfactory, Illusion Labs AB, Shovelmate, Quickoffice, Richard Shinderman and Wulven Games were those named in the lawsuit. If you remember, a few weeks back they offered this group of developers 21 days to negotiate a license. Apple was silent until last week when the offered a strongly worded response to Lodsys indicating the app developers were protected by Apple’s license of the patent.

Lodsys patent troll

Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patent and the Apple App Makers are protected by that license.

Game over right? Not according to Lodsys who updated their blog today to indicate whey they were moving forward with the litigation ahead of schedule.

Q: Why did Lodsys sue some App Developers on May 31, 2011?

Lodsys chose to move its litigation timing to an earlier date than originally planned, in response to Apple’s threat, in order to preserve its legal options.

The patent holder also had a response to Apple’s letter.

[Apple's] letter was very surprising as Apple and Lodsys were in confidential discussions and there was clearly disagreement on the interpretation of the license terms of Apple’s agreement. Before, during and after these interactions, Lodsys has carefully considered this issue and consulted several legal experts to consider Apple’s claims. We stand firm and restate our previous position that it is the 3rd party Developers that are responsible for the infringement of Lodsys’ patents and they are responsible for securing the rights for their applications. Developers relying on Apple’s letter do so to their own detriment and are strongly urged to review Apple’s own developer agreements to determine the true extent of Apple’s responsibilities to them.

Lodsys has offered to pay developers named in the suit $1000 if they are found to be “wrong”.

 

 

 

While it is true that Apple and Lodsys have an obvious dispute about the scope of Apple’s license to the Lodsys Patents, we are willing to put our money where our mouth is and pay you something if we are wrong. Therefore, Lodsys offers to pay $1,000 to each entity to whom we have sent an infringement notice for infringement on the iOS platform, or that we send a notice to in the future, if it turns out that the scope of Apple’s existing license rights apply to fully license you with respect to our claim relating to your App on Apple iOS.

 

 

 

There are a couple of things in play here. For one, it is surprising to see Lodsys’ refusal to back down to Apple. This will also find itself as part of the discussion during WWDC. Sure the focus will still be on iOS 5, iCloud and Lion, but expect this to continue to be a major story going into next week. The ball is back in Apple’s court. How will they respond this time around and will we see a statement from them before WWDC?

via MacRumors

  • Hawk

    I wrote an email to the email address of Lodsys’ website. I felt I just had to say something, even if my thoughts are uninformed and misguided.
    Here it is:

    Ok, I am a nobody in the grand scheme of things, but I follow tech news regularly to keep up with trends. When I first heard about you going after some developers- obviously not all- over the in-app purchase feature in Apple’s iOS dev kit, and now with Android developers as well, two words kept popping into my head. “Patent troll”.
    Of course, this term has entered the heads of many tech bloggers as well, gracing digital print everywhere, and it’s a safe bet it’s not the first time you’ve heard it either.
    So, I have to ask. Did you purchase the patent for “in-app purchases” solely with the intention of waiting for the right moment to strike in hopes of collecting licensing revenues? If so, that would be “trolling”.
    I have to wonder if you understood what Apple had purchased when they bought their license. Do you honestly believe that Apple would offer such a feature to their third party iOS developers if they didn’t have them covered under their own licensing umbrella? I mean, these developers are using Apple’s development kit, not their own, Apple’s. So it stands to reason that Apple has covered all their bases in this. And it’s pretty obvious you don’t want to go up against Apple, but the smart thing to do if you are looking for licensing fees would have been to talk to Apple about it and you probably would have gotten a pay-out from them to ensure that if there was a possible license infringement, that their third party developers were covered.
    Instead, you went after the small guys in hopes that none of them could afford the legal muscle needed to defend themselves in a case like this, and set a price that would be a much cheaper alternative to legal expenses.
    But now you have woken the “angry giant” as it were. You are basically picking on it’s kids, and it’s not happy.
    I’ve seen Apple’s response, and while I’m no lawyer, I have friends that are, and they see it the same as Apple. The developers using Apple’s iOS development kit are covered by the license Apple paid for. You don’t have a leg to stand on against it, and I am willing to be money that Google is going to also see it the same way.
    I have seen some really great patent trolling in my day over intellectual property, design ideas, etc., and those people knew what they were doing and planned out a long term strategy to get paid where payment was due. But it’s obvious that you guys are new at this, and are going to learn the hard way about how to get licensing fees paid you think you deserve.
    If you really want to make some money at this point, your best option is to sell the patent and call off this ridiculous profit hunt before it’s too late. If you make it to court, you’re going to start bleeding the money that you sought in the first place.
    You want to make things interesting offer the patent to Google and Apple. I am sure that after the bidding war is over, the price for the final sale will be way more than you could have made trolling for the next 10 years.
    It will also save your butts from any further embarrassment or financial loss.