Patent Troll Lodsys Sues Indie iOS Devs Days Earlier Than Promised

Patent Troll Lodsys Sues Indie iOS Devs Days Earlier Than Promised

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.

[via MacRumors]

  • Guest

    Can we confirm Lodsys actually HAVE filed lawsuits?

  • Greg Braddock

    “Lodsys chose to move its litigation timing to an earlier date than originally planned, in response to Apple’s threat, in order to preserve its legal options.” This is directly from their blog: http://www.lodsys.com/blog.htm

  • Randy Salo
  • CSMcDonald

    So if the developers settle with Lodsys, they are then violating Apple’s dev agreement.
    Which means that Apple supplied the developers with an API that would guarantee they would be in violation of against either Lodsys or Apple.
    Which means this is going to be one big messy fight.
    I can see lawyers gearing up to sue Apple over providing the API to the developers that led to them being sued by Lodsys.

    I have a headache now.   But the government insists we don’t need patent reform.

  • Guest

    Yeah, Quickoffice and some other devs got hit :-/

  • cheesy11

    lodsys is just suing every dev to turn up on the app doorstep

  • CharliK

    The only reason anyone will sue Apple for pushing the API, policies etc on anyone is if they lose in court.

    And do you really think that Apple’s lawyers would have sent that letter if they didn’t have strong faith that a judge would agree with their version of what the deal says

  • CSMcDonald

    You have far more faith in our legal system than I do.

  • Bob The Tyrant

    If this irks you, write a letter to your congressmen. Inform them that you believe this hampering the future growth of our economy and outright corporate bullying using resource advantage to extort money from the future of technology.

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.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News, Top stories | Tagged: , , , , , |