Patent infringement for iOS in-app store purchases claimed, using Apple's own tactics

Hardware 2.0 has the story of two developers who have been ordered to license patents covering in-app purchases from an unnamed company or face legal trouble in 21 days.

A story is surfacing of a mystery company that is sending cease-and-desist (C&D) letters to iOS app developers using Apple's in-app purchasing technology. Hardware 2.0 has the story of two developers who have been ordered to license the patents from an unnamed company or face legal trouble in 21 days.

I suspect these two developers are just the tip of the iceberg, and as FedEx starts making deliveries this morning in Silicon Valley we'll start hearing of other developers receiving the threatening papers. It is only logical that this company would not just go after two small developers, and that this will be more wide-spread.

While Adrian Kingsley-Hughes points out that this company is taking the cowardly tactic of going after the small app developers and not Apple, this doesn't surprise me. Apple took the same tactic with patent infringement lawsuits against Android, suing HTC instead of Google. The tactic is aimed at going after the parties profiting from the alleged infringement, and not the creator of the infringing technology. The timing of this infringement claim is not surprising, as Apple's big developer conference takes place in just a few weeks.

Hopefully Apple will step up and help developers with these claims. We'll keep our eyes on this unfolding story to bring you details as they appear. If you are a developer and have been contacted by this mystery company, please let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Flickr user H.L.I.T

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