Lodsys Files Disputes Against App Store Developers

Patent licensing firm Lodsys has followed up on its previous warnings to App Store developers, and is now suing a number of developers "in order to preserve its legal options."
Patent licensing firm Lodsys has followed up on its previous warnings to App Store developers, and is now suing a number of developers "in order to preserve its legal options." Last month, Texas-based Lodsys contacted a number of App Store developers who have implemented an in-app upgrades model in their games, demanding a percentage of revenues made due to the use of a Lodsys' patent on the model. Apple responded, saying that the company should "cease and desist from any further threats to Apple’s customers and partners." It noted that Apple is licensed for Lodsys' nameplate products and services, and therefore Apple's customers and business partners are also covered. In a series of blog posts on the Lodsys site, the company has now revealed that it has sued a number of App Store developers as of May 31, explaining that it "has only one motivation: we want to get paid for our rights." "If you are a Developer, it’s about knowledge about the scope and risks of your own business," said the company. "We clearly stated that we are attempting to license every App Developer that utilizes the functionality, regardless of size, and regardless of enabling technology, and that those licenses would be proportional." In response to Apple's cease and desist order, Lodsys argued, "Apple appeared to give the Developer community what they wanted. Unfortunately for Developers, Apple’s claim of infallibility has no discernable [sic] basis in law or fact." "The letter was very surprising as Apple and Lodsys were in confidential discussions and there was clearly disagreement on the interpretation of the license terms of Apple’s agreement. Before, during and after these interactions, Lodsys has carefully considered this issue and consulted several legal experts to consider Apple’s claims." "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." Lodsys noted that a detailed written interpretation has now been sent to Apple, and said that Apple may publicly print this if it so wishes. Although the specific developers affected were not named, patents news site Foss Patents is reporting the names of the defendants. Combay, Inc., developer of Mega Poker Online, is being sued, along with Iconfactory, Inc, developer of the Twitterriffic app. Also included in Illusion Labs, the team behind the Labyrinth games. Others affected include Michael G. Karr, Quickoffice, Inc., Richard Shinderman, and Wulven Games.

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