Apple Readies For War Against Patent Troll Lodsys, May Be Paying Sued Indie Devs Legal Fees

Apple Readies For War Against Patent Troll Lodsys, May Be Paying Sued Indie Devs Legal Fees

You can’t say Lodsys weren’t warned that Apple was prepared to fight: less than two weeks after the notorious patent troll sued indie iOS developers for using Apple’s own in-app purchasing mechanism in their apps, Cupertino has asked a judge to be allowed into the ring to kick Lodsys’ ass.

Here’s the motion to intervene Apple just filed in each of the seven lawsuits Lodsys has filed against iOS developers.

Apple Inc. (“Apple”) hereby respectfully moves to intervene as a defendant and counterclaim plaintiff in the above-captioned action brought by plaintiff Lodsys, LLC (“Lodsys”) against seven software application developers (collectively, “Developers”), forallegedly infringing U.S. Patent Nos. 7,222,078 (the “078 patent”) and 7,620,565 (the “565 patent” and, collectively, the “patents in suit”). Apple seeks to intervene because it is expresslyl icensed to provide to the Developers products and services that embody the patents in suit, free from claims of infringement of those patents.

What Apple’s trying to do here is absorb the body blow that Lodsys is trying to check on indie iOS devs. Lodsys can technically oppose the motion, but according to the always excellent FOSS Patents, it’s unlikely Apple won’t be allowed in.

Lodsys has been trying since the get-go to make this a fight between themselves and developers too small to adequately defend themselves. Apple stepping in as a defendant really changes the kind of fight Apple wants to have.

In fact, Apple may be going further than just interjecting itself as a defendant in court. FOSS Patents speculated based upon this wording that Apple may actually be paying for the sued developer’s legal costs:

Apple states explicitly that the sued app developers are “are individuals or small entities with far fewer resources than Apple and [...] lack the technical information, ability, and incentive to adequately protect Apple’s rights under its license agreement.

It makes sense that Apple would be doing this. Lodsys is a threat that fundamentally threatens their entire App Store business. That said, Apple’s keeping this arrangement close to their breast, according to FOSS… they’ve likely got NDAs with all of the developers fighting off Lodsys, telling them not to disclose the arrangement.

  • Tallest_Skil

    “DEVELOPERS! READY YOUR CODE BASE AND TYPE HEARTY. FOR TONIGHT WE SUE IN HELL!”

  • dagamer34

    “You mess with the bull, you’re gettin’ the horns!”

  • nolavabo

    Where the hell is Google in all of this? Does “open” mean leaving their developers out to dry?

  • wmark

    Internal memo from Steve Jobs to legal team: On my command unleash hell!!

  • iHate_Is_Back

    You know sometimes sitting quietly in the peanut gallery pays off with some wicked entertainment. For once I’m on the same side as everyone else on here. Now if Google aka The Great Evil would get off it’s fat arse and join in this could be a very entertaining patent troll slaughter.

  • iHate_Is_Back

    UPDATE

    well this is interesting ForSee who represents BestBuy and Adidas has also put LodSys in it’s crosshairs.

    http://www.bgr.com/2011/06/10/

  • CharliK

    They won’t. They don’t have cause to since they put all that legal stuff in the hands of the developers. 

    Apple actually generally does also but in this case they say they have a valid license that protects the little guys as well. And since they went public with that letter they have to jump in again. 

    It is more likely that their initial tactic is to get themselves entered into the suit and then request a dismissal based on that license with a request that since LodSys, aware of the license because Apple reminded them, should have never filed any suits at all they should have to pay all legal costs for the developers they tried to sue. And if that fails then perhaps Apple will look at covering costs etc. 

  • CharliK

    Yes, actually it does. Developers signed that they understood that they and they alone are responsible for all licenses, releases etc and if they submit anything they are claiming they have all appropriate rights and if they don’t, Google is not responsible. 

  • Tom Losh

    Not long ago, the gates of One Infinity Loop swung open. The lights went out, my skin crawled, and dogs began to howl. I asked what it was and was told, “Those are the Nazgûl. Once they were human, now they are Apple’s lawyers.”

    Be afraid, Lodsys, be very afraid…

  • Wirehedd

    Dear Lodsys,

    GFYS, seriously.

    signed,

    Steve and the Devs

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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