Lodsys originally gave indie iOS devs utilizing Apple’s own in-app purchasing mechanism twenty one days to either license their patents or get sued, but never trust a patent troll’s promises: days earlier than scheduled, Lodsys has already filed lawsuits against iOS devs who didn’t yield to their threats.
According to a series of posts over at their blog, Lodsys claims that they filed suit against iOS devs today, days earlier than they initially planned. Lodsys claims this was done in response to a “threat” made by Apple, which probably refers to the letter Apple sent Lodsys on May 23rd, claiming that app store developers were already “undeniably licensed” to use the technology by dint of an existing licensing agreement.
Lodsys denies this, and in a rambling response, claims that its indie devs who are liable and each need to individually pay to use in-app purchases.
[Apple’s] letter was very surprising as Apple and Lodsys were in confidential discussions and there was clearly disagreement on the interpretation of the license terms of Apple’s agreement. Before, during and after these interactions, Lodsys has carefully considered this issue and consulted several legal experts to consider Apple’s claims. We stand firm and restate our previous position that it is the 3rd party Developers that are responsible for the infringement of Lodsys’ patents and they are responsible for securing the rights for their applications. Developers relying on Apple’s letter do so to their own detriment and are strongly urged to review Apple’s own developer agreements to determine the true extent of Apple’s responsibilities to them.
It’s interesting that Lodsys urges devs to examine Apple’s own dev agreements, then settle, because if developers were to examine that document, they’d find that the Dev Agreement actually prohibits them from settling with Lodsys. A rock and a hard place.
It’s a shame Lodsys is taking things this far. While Apple’s letter to Lodsys was a very strongly worded defense of the rights of indie iOS devs to use Apple’s IAP mechanism in their apps, Apple’s hasn’t promised developers any actual legal support against Lodsys. Devs who have been sued by Lodsys will have to pay their own legal bills, at least for right now.
Lodsys’ intentions are clear: they want to make this as ugly as possible, for as many devs as possible, and while the patent troll is unlikely to prevail in the end, they’re going to cause a lot of indie iOS devs a lot of misery and cost a lot of people a lot of money before all is said and done.