Mid-week Update: Apple, Lodsys And Everyone Else Being Sued.

  • July 27, 2011 9:33 pm

Being rather enthusiastic iOS users (most of us anyway) here at GS means we’ve been quiet diligent in following the Lodsys vs. small (and now big) time developers in regards to in-app purchasing. According to patent troll Lodsys, basically Apple’s entire developer ecosystem who uses in-app purchasing and doesn’t contact them for licensing is in need of a good suing. Apple meanwhile states that their generous licensing terms already covers individual developers. Considering that a lawsuit ending with Lodsys in the clear could have very wide ranging and devastating effects on the iOS world as a whole.

So how are things going by the way? Well, not too great…
 

Lodsys, Apple update lawsuits and claims

Lodsys recently expanded their lawsuit from a handful of smaller developers to include more popular players such as Angry Birds developer Rovio Mobile as well as gaming giant EA. Atari, Take-Two Interactive, Square-Enix have also been added to the fray.

In a similar move, Apple has updated their own response to Lodsys’ initial claims, though with much lesser statements. Apple basically just reiterates that their licensing deal with Lodsys already covers individual iOS developers — nothing more and nothing less.

As far as we’re concerned, Apple’s unwillingness to truly send the legal hounds after Lodsys thus far is rather disappointing and disheartening, especially for developers. We’d wager most of Apple’s major success stories over the last several years revolve in some form or another around apps and the App Store (Mac App Store too). With the very core of their app ecosystem at danger — their big moneymaker in the here and now — how can they sit back and lobby seemingly week and empty statements at Lodsys and not feel pressure to do something more?

Lodsys Attempts to block Apple’s motion to intervene

Shortly after Lodsys filed their lawsuit, Apple filed their own motion to intervene on behalf of developers. While a rather weak move initially, many believed it would be the beginning of the end for Lodsys’ lawsuit as Apple would surely unleash their lawyers.

But that hasn’t happened yet. Instead, Apple hasn’t done much of anything to back up their loyal developers.

And now the stakes get a little higher as Lodsys has officially filed a new opposition to Apple’s motion to intervene. Their opposition filing states Apple’s current licensing agreements limits their ability to intervene for other parties, and that their motivation for intervening is “purely economic”. (Funny. We’d say Lodsys’ whole basis behind their chest thumping, patent trolling lawsuit is also “purely economic”.)

Finally, Lodsys calls out Apple’s claim to be “helping small developers without the necessary resources to fight” is false, citing such developers as Rovio Mobile which easily has millions of dollars in revenue, and in turn can surely afford to fight to defend themselves.

What’s next?

Lodsys is pushing ahead with their claim that Apple’s licenses do not trickle down and shield individual developers. Basically, as we stated earlier, Lodsys is after money and money alone. They want to first charge Apple (likely a huge sum) to license their technology and then turn around and charge developers (an equally large/overpriced sum) to use the same technology — double dipping.

Thankfully Lodsys isn’t the only one dishing out the hurt. The “company” faces several declaratory judgment attempts against several of the patents being used to sue the growing list of iOS (and Android) developers. If developer scan get Lodsys’ patents invalidated, their outlook becomes much better.

All we can say is that we hope common sense prevails.

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Via: FOSS Patents | Electronista | TUAW

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  • Anonymous

    I agree common sense should prevail. However, while Apple are content to sue other companies on the basis that they have produced a “rectangular tablet with rounded corners and a border” they really cant complain. See this article to see just how flawed some of Apple’s patent claims are:

    http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/open-enterprise/2011/08/rotten-to-the-core/index.htm

    Now if everyone just dropped these stupid patent claims and spend money on R&D we would all be in a better position!