Tag Archives: Patent Troll

The Troll that wouldn’t die

Lodsys: “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.”

Special place in Hell for lawyers. Yep.

Who was sued? Glad you asked.

  1. Combay
  2. Iconfactory
  3. Illusion Labs
  4. Machael G. Karr
  5. Quickoffice
  6. Richard Shinderman
  7. Wulven Games

Something to note, Iconfactory’s Twitterrific for Mac was called out, as well as Illusion Labs Labyrinth for Android. So this extends beyond iOS. Who’s next? Is Windows Update covered by this? What about all the apps that do automagic update?

FOSS Patents: “Unfortunately, I was right. Today — on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 — Lodsys filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (the place in which I predicted that it would do so) against seven little iOS app developers. Lodsys asserts two of its four patents: U.S. Patent No. 7,620,565 (“the ‘565 patent”) on a “customer-based design module” and U.S. Patent No. 7,222,078 (“the ‘078 patent”) on “Methods and Systems for Gathering Information from Units of a Commodity Across a Network.” Note that Lodsys so far emphasized the ‘078 patent, although Lodsys always mentioned its other patents as well.”

Lodsys, Meet The Train!

The Loop: “Thus the technology that is targeted in your notice letters is technology that Apple is expressly licensed under the Lodsys patents to offer to Apple’s App Makers,” wrote Sewell. “These licensed products and services enable Apple’s App Makers to communicate with end users through the use of Apple’s own licensed hardware, software, APIs, memory, servers, and interfaces, including Apple’s App Store. Because Apple is licensed under Lodsys’ patents to offer such technology to its App Makers, the App Makers are entitled to use this technology free from any infringement claims by Lodsys.”

Lodsys, say hello to The Train that is Apple.

Apple, thank you!

UPDATE: Full text of Apple telling Lodsys to stick it.

Dear Steve

Craig Hockenberry: “I’m one of the developers that is affected by the Lodsys patent infringement claim. I’m writing not to beg for your support, but rather to give you a better idea of how this legal action affects the average iOS developer.”

Go read the entire article. Craig gets to the point. Paying this troll won’t break the bank, but it opens the door to others.

Something else to keep in mind. Lodsys reserves the right to increase their licensing fee at any time. So, what if 0.5+% goes up to 5% of your revenue, or 10% of your revenue? That would definitely hurt the ecosystem.

Apple Smackdown Coming?

Cult of Mac: “Patent troll Lodsys has been suing iOS indie developers for using Apple’s own in-app purchasing mechanism. Sleazily, the company has claimed that they had no choice but to go after the little guy because Apple refused to cough up an App-Store-wide patent license.”

Apple could step in here and be a real knight in shining armor. They could offer to pay villainous scum Lodsys out of their 30% take from In App Purchase.

We’ll see.

Help vs. Vile Scum Lodsys?

Engadget: “Though it’s very unlikely that Cupertino won’t offer assistance, devs will also be able to turn to EFF for advice, where they may even be paired with pro bono patent attorneys. Besides offering this bit of good news, Samuels was able to help us dig deeper into Lodsys, and the dirty business of patent suits.”

Well, there’s a bit of a silver lining, I think.

I very much dislike patent trolls

Patent TrollThe Guardian: Florian Mueller, who closely watches developents in smartphones and patent claims, analysed the claims by H-W Technology and commented: “What’s really disconcerting about this lawsuit is that it’s the first such lawsuit to attack – besides operating system vendors and device makers, which are routinely sued by patent holders – a number of companies because of their smartphone apps. I’m really afraid we’re now going to see more patent lawsuits against application developers. Hopefully this won’t ever affect little guys who can’t afford to defend themselves, but if there’s a major company behind an app, or if an app is commercially very successful, it can happen and it has now apparently started to happen.”

This story contains details related to my earlier post. Darned patent trolls.