Lodsys Begins Filing Lawsuits Against iOS Developers
Nearly one month ago, a company named Lodsys emerged from out of the blue to begin threatening legal action against iOS developers regarding the issue of in-app purchasing. Lodsys said it was hellbent on not being denied any and all royalties that are rightfully due to them. "Lodsys' patent portfolio is being used as part of an overall solution and we are seeking to be paid for the use of patent rights by the accountable party," the company said.
On May 22nd, Apple formally responded in a letter telling Lodsys to back off: “Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patents and the App Makers are protected by that license,” said Bruce Sewell, Apple Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Thus the technology that is targeted in your notice letters is technology that Apple is expressly licensed under the Lodsys patents to offer to Apple’s App Makers,” Sewell added.
Well, if you kind of had an inkling that Lodsys wouldn't go away just because Apple said they should, you were right. On Tuesday, Lodsys kept its word and began filing a flurry of patent infringement lawsuits against various iOS developers. And there's no telling just how many devs may be roped into this saga.
"Apple is not 'undisputedly licensed' with rights that extend to 3rd party Developers," Lodsys posted on the company's official blog today. "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."
So where does it all go from here? My friends, we're entering unprecedented waters to a considerable degree. And it could get interesting.