According to patent application that is surfacing, Apple seems to be trying to patent the idea of in-app purchases. Lodsys claimed all rights to in app purchases previously and Apple has been paying license fees since the company enabled the feature with iOS 3. The patent application filed by Apple is titled as “In Application Purchasing” and is much more specific than Lodsys’ patents that cover the vague and broad idea of “interacting with customers over the internet in relationship to products and services.”
The thing that makes this so important is that the patent may impact competitors such as Google, RIM, and Windows Phone 7. Apple was well aware of Lodsys’ patent when it filed for its “In Application Purchasing” document, so we can definitely expect some action arising in the near future. Apple describes the process for in-app purchases being very crucial for the company as any discrepancy can lose the consumer's interest. The patent application reads the following: "Consumers can be extremely fickle and accordingly many different things can cause a consumer to walk away from a potential purchase. Each step in the purchasing process presents a new opportunity for the consumer to decide not to purchase a product.”
What the whole thing really comes down to is Apple just trying to add another patent to their portfolio by providing a detailed justification as to the whole in-app purchasing process. The way it is being worded though allows Apple the rights for in-app purchasing for any product though not just their products.
According to the patent application text, Apple is trying to claims the rights on the following:
…technology [that] provides a purchasing interface within an application that allows users to purchase a product from another source without leaving the application. The application offers a product for purchase, and a user, desiring to purchase the product can provide an input effective to cause a purchasing interface to be displayed. While the purchasing interface, or information presented therein, comes from the product source, which is different than the application source, it is presented in such a fashion that gives the impression to the user that they are purchasing the product directly from the application.
Do you think Apple will be granted the rights to this patent? If so, what do you think they will do with it? Let us know in the comments below!