Another Company Suing Indie iOS Devs, This Time For Upgrade Links [Updates]


I guess Lodsys couldn't find an appropriate Benjamin Franklin quote endorsing extortion of indie developers for falling afoul of vaguely worded patents.
I guess Lodsys couldn't find an appropriate Benjamin Franklin quote endorsing extortion of indie developers for falling afoul of vaguely worded patents.

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.

That indie dev is Rob Gloess of Computer LogicX, who made Mix & Mash, has also been hit, as originally reported by MacRumors.

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.

  • Florian Mueller

    I understand that one of the recipients of the threat letter has already denied that it’s that company.

    Six weeks ago I blogged about a company that’s already suing several app developers (larger ones though than the ones targeted more recently) about such a patent:

    James Thomson now told me it’s not that one either.

  • prof_peabody

    How appropriate that they quote Edison.  He was one of the biggest thieves of other people’s ideas that ever lived. 

    Also, he chewed tobacco and spat the resulting mess on the floor wherever he was, purposely not using a spittoon even if it were available.  

    Lovely gentleman. :-)

  • brownlee

    Thank you very much for this correction. I’ve updated the post, and I’ll include a link to your blog.

  • trrosen

     Nice vague broad patent. That is to say invalid. And not even remotely related to the developers software. Right away you notice the patent refers to two way communication. an upgrade link is one way.

    I mean for crying out loud the patent actually reads as we have this thing that does this thing with other things. This should have been tossed the second it hit the patent office.

  • trrosen

     hmmm can you do a class action countersuit? This is RIAA tactics sue little people who will just cave under threat because you would never survive in court.

  • Florian Mueller

    Thanks, by the way, James Thomson denied to me only that it’s H-W Technologies but he declined to comment on LodSys. 

  • Vineeth Kuruvath

    USA patent system is screwed up

  • reelfernandes

    Software Industry needs to learn from the fashion industry –