Patent Troll Lodsys: We Had No Choice But Sue Indie iOS Devs

Patent Troll Lodsys: We Had No Choice But Sue Indie iOS Devs

Patent troll Lodsys — the company who threatened to sue multiple iOS indie devs on Friday for using Apple’s own in-app purchasing mechanism — has responded to the widespread furor over their actions in a series of Q&A posts. And guess what? It turns out we were all wrong about them being dicks. In fact, they’re the real victims here! Boo hoo!

Over on their blog, Lodsys claims that far from being a “parasite” or “troll,” they’re actually just like any company selling a product or service, and that like any business, they need to “get value for the assets it owns.” That their product is a broad verbal description of a technology they never actually created, and that their method of “getting value” for their “assets” is by extorting the small indie developers of the App Store one at a time… well, Lodsys doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with that.

Shrugging off complains that their patents are too broad, Lodsys claims that all patents seem obvious in hindsight. In fact, Lodsys claims that by pursuing indie devs for licensing fees, they actually encourage invention and innovation, not clamp down upon it.

So far, these are the typical weasel excuses of the patent troll. But Lodsys’s most interesting revelation comes when responding to criticisms that they are attacking App Store devs instead of Apple itself. Lodsys claims that the reason they are attacking indie devs is because they’ve already worked a licensing agreement out with Apple.

Apparently, Apple, Microsoft and Google have already licensed Lodsys’s in-app and upgrade link patents… but only for their own personal use. Apple has not approached Lodsys for an App Store wide license. Consequently, they had no choice but to go after the little guys directly.

Lodsys’s game here seems obvious. They’re trying to milk more money out of Apple, Microsoft and Google by targeting App Store devs and threatening to undermine the very underpinnings of the App Store. Indie devs are just a casualty of a broader money-making move.

What’s particularly rich about this is that App Store devs can’t sign licensing agreements with Lodsys even if they wanted to, because such an agreement would violate the iOD Developer Program License Agreement.

Make no mistake: indie devs aren’t actually the target here. Lodsys is just being particularly scummy in the way it tries to renegotiate an existing license with Apple. One wonders, though, if Lodsys will find that they quite have the dragon by its tale when Apple finally arises angrily from slumber.

[via MacStories]

  • ravenatic

     dicks lol

  • mahimahimahi

    Companies like lodsys should be wiped off the face of the earth.

  • JayeDee369

     They will be now that Apple has wind of this. I’m pretty sure that trying to gut their cash cow, Apple will probably go after lodsys and make an example out of them.

  • MediaUnbalance

    As long as lawyers are in the majority of elected official,  we will never see an end to stuff like this.  Most lawyers are parasitic scum.

  • Andy_murdock

     Should read “Dragon by it’s tail”, even I caught that, and I’m rather dumb.

  • gareth edwards

     I’d like to see that happen.

  • nthnm

     Apple will win. Maybe not always with other large tech companies, but with a company like this? Surely.

  • nthnm

     “It’s” is a contraction of “it is”. “Its” shows possession without using the apostrophe.

  • Ben Ford Ford

    Call it what you will…patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your invention and we’re not going to pay”. This is just dissembling by large infringers to kill any inventor support system. It is purely about legalizing theft.

    Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the Supreme Court decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now some of those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don’t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back in the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all inventors, large and small.

    For the truth about trolls, please see http://truereform.piausa.org

  • Jack

    I’m inclined to agree with you — you are rather dumb.

    It’s correct as it is.

    Why don’t you pick up a book on grammar and punctuation before you try to attack someone over theirs? I’d recommend “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” by Lynn Truss, or the ever-reliable “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White.

    Learn yourself something and get some o’ dat der edumacation that’s all the talk of dat flim-flammin’ interwebs.

    It’s vs. Its
    http://www.elearnenglishlangua

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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