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Lodsys ignores Apple and Google, sues developers

updated 05:50 pm EDT, Tue May 31, 2011

Lodsys sues developers to squeeze Apple

Lodsys on Tuesday disputed Apple's warning letter on developer patent licenses and sued some app developers. The company claimed that Apple had forced its hand and that it needed to "preserve its legal options." It tried to offer token compensation and said that, if it were proven wrong, it would pay $1,000 to each iOS developer who had been given an infringement notice.

The complainant alleged that it was surprised at the letter from Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell shielding developers. It was in secret talks and admitted a dispute but didn't expect Apple to publicly warn Lodsys of a legal challenge if it went ahead. Lodsys only formally codified its stance in a confidential letter to Apple after the letter was sent.

Its interpretation argued that Apple had an inherently limited role as an "agent" of the developer and that it had no more than $50 of liability coverage. Apple allegedly didn't have the authority to pass on patent rights or indemnification insurance to developers. Google, also targeted by Lodsys' anti-developer campaign, didn't explicitly address patent rights at all, the company claimed.

Lodsys recognized but largely dismissed the general consensus that its actions were those of a patent troll, instead calling itself a "rights holder" that just wanted to be paid. The firm tried to put the blame back on developers, saying they had a choice in what features to include but ignoring the likelihood they would have the resources to know of or dispute patent issues.

The action is likely to result in a lawsuit from at least Apple and is only expected to worsen Lodsys' public image. Despite its denials, the company fits the common definition of a patent troll as it has no meaningful contributions to the industry and relies solely on lawsuits and royalty cuts for profit. Advocacy groups have called out for patent reform precisely since such one-way firms artificially raise the price of products but never have products of their own to use the patents.

Apple hadn't commented on the actions as of Tuesday evening. The move is a gamble given that the WWDC developer conference is next week and will let many developers coordinate their responses to Lodsys through Apple without having to create a physical record.


By Electronista Staff
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  1. davesmall

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2006



    Patent trolls like Lodsys are the scum of the earth. They are right there with lice, pimps, and Islamic Jihadists They should be arrested and charged with extortion.

  1. driven

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: May 2001


    Disgusting behavior

    I hate companies like this. "Patent Troll" is too kind of a word.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. imNat-imadouche

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2011



    Patent trolls like Apple are the scum of the earth. They are right there with lice, pimps, and Islamic Jihadists They should be arrested and charged with extortion.

  1. bjojade

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    Can I get a letter?

    They are promising $1000 to each dev if they lose the case. How do I get on the list?

  1. Cronocide

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2010


    They are gonna get pummeled.

    When Apple says "Back off, punk," you don't throw a punch.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. linlijunjj

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2011


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  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009


    Sock puppet account?

    I am starting to believe that Nat and imNat-imadouche are the same guy.

    Give it up Nat / imNat-imadouche. The gig is up.


    - Sent from my Android Device.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: They are gonna get pummeled.

    When Apple says "Back off, punk," you don't throw a punch.

    Yeah, I'm sure. They're so scared of Apple that they somehow conned Apple into licensing their technology. But now it's on!

    And if Apple had cared, they would have done something about it earlier when this was all starting.

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