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.