More on Patent Trolls

Washington Post: Gizmodo senior reporter Mat Honan disagrees, arguing that patent trolling is suffocating America’s ability to innovate, particularly in the technology sector. Honan wrote on Tuesday, “These are the tapeworms crawling through the nutrient-rich belly of American innovation, full of bile and [expletive], slowly starving us to death.”



Software Patents Are Good, Right?

Cigarettes “Simon Maddox, a UK developer, has removed all his apps from US app stores on both iOS and Android for fear of being sued by Lodsys, a company which has already sued a number of iOS and Android developers which it says infringe its software patent.”

Remember boys and girls, software patents are good for you!

No, wait, it gets worse. Apple is now suing HTC over silly stuff. This is definitely not moving technology and innovation forward. It’s taking us backward.

I feel really bad for the Indies of the software world. They’re just trying to eek out a living and they have to deal with Patent Trolls that don’t actually create anything. Pathetic.


Lodsys, destroying software one patent at a time.

Beware of Trolls.Craig Hockenberry [via Twitter]: “Doing cross promotion in your app? Lodsys has a patent for that, too:”

Craig links to this post on the touchArcade forums. Lovely. Basically if you have a link in an application that promotes an upgrade to the paid version, or a different application all together, you’re in violation of a Lodsys patent.

What does that mean for links on web pages? What if I have a link from the web page of Product A to Product B? That is promotion, or as the letter states “elicited perception”, right? Does this frivolous patent only apply to mobile?

I also love the closing paragraph of the letter, it just drips with sarcasm.

“I trust that this has clarified the matter and that you now understand that we are not mistaken. We would like to enter into meaningful discussion with you about an appropriate license that is scaled to your use of our patented invention. We look forward to doing that as soon as possible.”

Makes me want to punch someone in the face.

Darned trolls.


Trolls are trolls

EFF : “The licensing fee Lodsys claims to be seeking – 0.575% – may seem low, and, in many instances, will come out to less than the cost of defending a lawsuit: that’s how the troll business model works. But paying the fee, especially in these circumstances, looks a lot like paying a tax on innovation. What is worse, for some developers it will be enough to make their business unsustainable.”

Patents are bad for innovation.


Dave Winer on the Lodsys Mess

Dave Winer: “The gist: Apple requires developers to use an Apple-provided service in order to sell their apps in the App Store. The developers are getting sued for patent infringement for doing this. Apple itself is exempt from being sued because they did a separate deal with the owners of the patent.”

It’s true developer are required to use In App Purchasing if the want to allow you to add to an existing product. A lot of shops do this to upgrade you from the free ad supported version to the paid version that doesn’t include ads. A lot of games use IAP so you can purchase additional levels inside the game. It’s pretty slick, one tap installation.

What’s not entirely accurate is how Dave presents it. Developers do not have to use In App Purchase. You only have to use it if you choose to upgrade your application the easy, duh, makes perfect sense to me, way.

If I had this feature, I’d pull it. I’d make two versions of my application. Free with minimal features and paid, with everything. The free one would include a statement that said something like this.

“Software patents are broken. So broken, in fact, great features that would make this application better were removed because of Patent Troll, Lodsys.”

It would be something like that anyway.

I’m sure there are a few patent trolls just waiting to see how this plays out. Open floodgates, perform cashectomy, and destroy the app developer echosystem.