Lodsys targets new iOS developers as Apple awaits court’s decision

article thumbnail

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

The ongoing legal battle between Lodsys and iOS developers implementing in-app purchasing capabilities continues to heat up with the patent-holder continuing to contact developers and amending its complaint last week with the addition of two more prominent iOS software makers.

The so-called "patent troll" continues to contact new developers, pressing them to acquire individual licenses for their in-app purchasing technology, despite the fact that Apple, as the operator of the App Store, currently retains a license.

“I've been following the developments with Lodsys, just wondering when they would contact us. And, today was the day," Anthony Campiti, president of Sunstorm Interactive, told AppleInsider. "So, add another developer to the list of companies being pursued by Lodsys. Wish Apple would step up... give us some type of update on their stance, etc.”

The latest complaint, filed July 22, sees one developer, Vietnamese company Wulven Games, dropped from the matter but five new ones added. Chief among the additions are Angry Birds developer Rovio and Electronic Arts, one of the largest game publishers in the world. This move could signal increased confidence on Lodsys’ part in suing developers with extensive resources.

In May, Lodsys hit a number of iOS developers with legal threats, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent #7,222,078 stemming from Apple’s in-app purchasing API.

At issue is the fact that, despite Apple acquiring a license from Lodsys for the in-app purchasing patent in question, the patent-holder claims the existing license agreement does not extend to iOS developers themselves. For its part, Apple in May responded to Lodsys with a formal letter requesting the company cease all legal threats against iOS developers.

The App Store operator followed up on July 10 by filing a motion to intervene in the proceedings, but the court has yet to rule on the request.

Some industry watchers have viewed Apple’s official response as unsatisfactory. Patent expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents expressed displeasure with Apple regarding its efforts surrounding the issue thus far.

“It's disappointing that Apple still doesn't challenge the validity of Lodsys's patents nor the assertion that there is an infringement," he wrote. “Apple's proposed answer appears to have a flaw that suggests to me that Apple's legal department didn't put nearly as much thought into that one as it does in its major disputes with the likes of Samsung.”

“If you read Apple's proposed answer," he continued, "it doesn't make any reference to the fact that two of the accused products in that dispute are actually Android-based. Lodsys accused not only the iOS but also the Android versions of Illusion Lab's "Labyrinth" and Rovio's "Angry Birds."”

As part of its motion, Apple asked the court to dismiss Lodsys's complaint in its entirety, based on the assertion that Apple's license extends to its developers. However, it's not possible to assume Apple's license extends to Android apps.

"Since Apple's proposed defenses and counterclaim don't make that distinction, it's quite possible that Lodsys could convince the court that Apple needs to resubmit its answer," Mueller wrote.

Lodsys is seeking to acquire from developers 0.575 percent of all U.S. revenue generated from the sale of their iOS titles through the expiration of its patent in 2023.