updated 06:45 pm EDT, Thu April 12, 2012
New judge agrees to limited intervention
Courts have finally allowed Apple to involve itself in an ongoing lawsuit filed by Lodsys against a number of app developers. Apple in June filed a motion to intervene, however the request was met by opposition from Lodsys and further stalled as the case was swapped to Judge Rodney Gilstrap.
"Apple is permitted to intervene in this suit, but such intervention is limited to the issues of patent exhaustion and licensing," Judge Gilstrap wrote, according to filing excerpts posted on Florian Mueller's blog.
After the non-practicing patent holder filed its infringement suit against a range of iOS app developers, Apple argued that its own licensing agreement with Lodsys effectively extends to apps published by third-party developers for the iOS platform.
Lodsys has followed a strategy of intimidation outside of the courtroom, sending threatening letters to iOS, Android and BlackBerry developers and demanding licensing agreements. Many smaller developers are believed to have ceded to the demands, rather than risking a potentially costly legal battle.
Apple's intervention in the existing lawsuit is viewed as a significant setback for Lodsys' licensing campaign, as the patent holder must now defend its claims against the tech giant's legal team. Other large companies, including fellow Lodsys licensee Google, are attempting to have the USPTO reexamine the validity of the patents involved in the lawsuit.