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Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 05:00 pm PT (08:00 pm ET)

Lodsys files suit against iOS developers over in-app purchases

Lodsys filed a patent infringement lawsuit on Tuesday against several iOS developers, making good on its threat to pursue legal action over the use of technology related to in-app purchasing.

The suit was filed with the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, a district known for providing a favorable outcome for patent holders, Florian Mueller reports. Though iOS developers were the main targets of the suit, one Android developer was also listed in the filing.

Early this month, Lodsys sent legal complaints to a number of iOS developers accusing them of patent infringement. The letter gave the developers 21 days to license the company's in-app purchasing technology.

Lodsys' claim centers mainly around U.S. Patent No. 7222078, entitled ""Methods and Systems for Gathering Information from Units of a Commodity Across a Network." Though Apple has licensed the technology, Lodsys asserts that third-party developers aren't covered under that license.

After Apple's legal department actively investigated the infringement claims, the Cupertino, Calif., company sent a formal letter to Lodsys asking it to cease its legal threats against iOS developers. "Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patents and the App Makers are protected by that license," Bruce Sewell, Apple's senior vice president and general counsel, wrote in the letter.

Lodsys


Lodsys noted Tuesday on its official blog that it "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." The company has also offered a $1,000 payment to iOS developers if it turns out that Apple's existing license rights apply to app developers. However, Lodsys continues to dispute Apple's claim and has sent a "detailed legal position on the license interpretation issue" to the iPhone maker.