updated 07:12 pm EDT, Tue October 9, 2012
Google filing forced USPTO analysis of patent
The otherwise-stagnant Lodsys lawsuit has shown signs of life after six months of inactivity. According to a blog post on the Lodsys website, during the inter-parties reexamination requested by Google, the United States Patent Trade Office has confirmed the non-practicing entity's patent as valid after on in-app purchases and free-to-paid application upgrades.
Lodsys claims that the USPTO's affirmation gives them "every confidence that all claims will ultimately be confirmed through this lengthy process. In-app purchase features and free-to-paid upgrades will be a part of the litigation process that is now swiftly moving forward."
After the non-practicing patent holder filed its infringement suit against a range of iOS app developers, Apple stepped into Lodsys' lawsuit against developers by filing a motion to intervene. The request reflected Apple's earlier letter and argued 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 new update contests Apple's defense of the App store coders, saying that "The dispute about the scope of Apple's license rights extending to 3rd parties remains unresolved and clearly contested. This is irrespective of Apple's unilateral declarations to the contrary and their insistence that the documents that underlie the issue remain shrouded in secrecy to prevent application developers and others from determining the scope of Apple's license for themselves."
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. The trial between Apple and Lodsys is due in 2013.