Wondering who the mysterious patent troll suing indie devs for using Apple’s own in-app purchasing system is? We still don’t know, but we can add another company to the list of patent houses suing iOS devs… this time not for in-app purchases, but for upgrade links.
The company in question is called LodSys, and while they are not the same patent house threatening indie devs like James Thomson (creator of DragThing and pCalc), they are suing another dev over this patent: a 2003 patent continuing a series of patent applications that go all the way back to 1994.
Our app, Mix & Mash, has the common model of a limited free, lite, version and a full version that contains all the features. We were told that the button that users click on to upgrade the app, or rather link to the full version on the app store was in breach of US patent no 7222078, we couldn’t believe it, the upgrade button!?!
Patent trolls suing Apple are nothing new, but it’s a new wrinkle to see patent trolls trying to extort small time indie devs instead of going for Cupertino’s billions. Is this a new trend?
Correction: The original version of this post identified Lodsys as the same company that has threatened to sue James Thomson for in-app purchasing in pCalc. He has since denied that it’s the same company. More word on James Thomson’s legal aggressor as we get it. Many, many thanks to FOSS Patents for the correction.
Update: Apparently, Thomson was not willing to confirm that Lodsys was the company that had threatened to sue him, meaning Lodsys very well could be the same company suing both devs, albeit under different patents..