Patents Suck

Luma Labs: “Therefore, we’re acting unilaterally and conceding the market by immediately discontinuing the Loop and LoopIt. Full stop. We apologize for the sudden nature of this decision and our implementation of it, but we feel like our options on this matter are limited.”

I don’t have much to say about this. The little guy just doesn’t stand a chance anymore.

Horrible. What a loss.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Patents, patents, patents

James Robertson: “Tagging followed by an automated email is now owned by Facebook. Can we just close down the patent office now, and declare everything they’ve done since, oh, about 1985, invaild?”

Yep, software as a business is trying to kill itself.



Mike Lee: “You might think that sounds dramatic. A small cut is not going to kill a thriving business, true, but this is the opening salvo to all-out war. The parasites have taken notice of the goldrush, and would like nothing more than the precedent that allows every modern-day mobster with a patent lawyer on retainer to start cracking nuts.”

That post was on May 16. Today, May 18, we get this lovely news. That’s right, it’s a different company going after patent royalties.

From the article: “Jim McGill, chairman of MacroSolve, has said that the patent covers “thousands of existing apps” that collect data and send it to a central server. “

Thousands of apps. Here we go again.