updated 08:15 am EDT, Fri June 10, 2011
Apple files motion to intervene vs Lodsys
Apple stepped into Lodsys' lawsuit against developers by filing a motion to intervene (below) on Thursday. The request reflects Apple's earlier letter and argues that the terms of its developer agreements cover the licensing for the patents. It pointed out that many iPhone and Mac app writers simply couldn't know about the patent licensing deal or have the cash to defend themselves, a weakness which many have accused Lodsys of exploiting.
The defendant developers were "individuals or small entities with far fewer resources than Apple," the motion read. "[They] lack the technical information, ability, and incentive to adequately protect Apple's rights under its license agreement."
As precedent, Apple cited interventions in similar cases, where Intel stepped in against lawsuits from Ethernet Innovations and Negotiated Data Solutions and Microsoft jumped in to stop TiVo.
Lodsys has tried to maintain that Apple's developer terms don't adequately cover developers and that their individual patent violations are separate from others. Apple has already been preemptively been asking developers using iCloud whether any of their apps have "legal issues" and, if told yes, blocks both regular downloads and re-downloads.
Apple's defense against patent lawsuits hasn't been universal, but its moves may be important to help either establish Lodsys' precedent or else shoot it down and prevent 'double-dip' attempts to license patents. Concerns still exist about Lodsys' targeting of Android users, where Google hasn't offered any protection. Some hopes are hinging on the patents being rendered invalid in a separate case. [via Florian Mueller]