Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

Summary: Apple came to the defense of its iOS developers today when General Counsel Bruce Sewell contended that since Apple is licensed to its patents its developers are protected by extension.

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Apple came to the defense of its iOS developers today by sending a letter to Lodsys stating that the devs are doing nothing wrong.

Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell contends that since Apple is licensed to certain Lodsys patents its developers are protected by extension.

There has been an outpouring of support for several iOS developers that received letters from Lodsys on May 13, 2011 accusing them of infringing on the company’s license for in-app purchases and demanding a 0.575% royalty from apps that use the relatively common feature.

Apple's argument has two components:

First, Apple is licensed to all four of the patents in the Lodsys portfolio. As Lodsys itself advertises on its website, “Apple is licensed for its nameplate products and services.” Seehttp://www.lodsys.com/blog.html (emphasis in original). Under its license, Apple is entitled to offer these licensed products and services to its customers and business partners, who, in turn, have the right to use them.

Second, while we are not privy to all of Lodsys’s infringement contentions because you have chosen to send letters to Apple’s App Makers rather than to Apple itself, our understanding based on the letters we have reviewed is that Lodsys’s infringement allegations against Apple’s App Makers rest on Apple products and services covered by the license.

It sums it up nicely by saying:

Because Apple is licensed under Lodsys’ patents to offer such technology to its App Makers, the App Makers are entitled to use this technology free from any infringement claims by Lodsys.

Then it puts some teeth into the letter:

Therefore, Apple requests that Lodsys immediately withdraw all notice letters sent to Apple App Makers and cease its false assertions that the App Makers’ use of licensed Apple products and services in any way constitute infringement of any Lodsys patent.

Pretty clear, right?

The problem is that there's a lot of money on the table and Lodsys isn't likely to just roll over. Apple's letter is short and sweet and is mostly posturing at this point. I suspect that Apple will end up settling with Lodsys on behalf of its developers rather than letting them twist in the wind. Lodsys knows this and is trying to squeeze as much money as possible out of Apple.

What's your take on Lodsys? Entitled? Or bottom-feeders?

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Topics: Software Development, Apple

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31 comments
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  • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

    Not having seen the Apple licensing agreement I can't be definitive, but, it sure seems like a lawyer is trying to double dip here.
    bgrh
    • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

      @bgrh Seems to me like Lodsys is just being a bottomfeeder.
      ZazieLavender
  • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

    deleted. duplicate post.
    Ram U
  • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

    They are less than bottom feeders and the ones who bite the feeding hands, eventually they will learn the lesson.
    Ram U
  • LMFAO!!!

    Yeah... because... [i]how dare anyone think they should profit from the dev's hard work[/i]...right???!!!

    LMAO... and kudos to Apple for keeping the distorted distinction of: "HEY...asking for 30% is OK, but asking for another .06%??? THAT'S GOING WAY TOO FAR!!!"
    SonofaSailor
    • Are you a confused puppy?

      @SonofaSailor

      Or do you just like to read your own letters that mean little?

      How does Apple's 30% for handling all distribution, charging, payments, SDK,... compare to an extortionist offering to sue for technology already licensed in the SDK/API?
      Bruizer
    • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

      @SonofaSailor
      And that 30% just bought those developers the full weight of Apple's legal team, as well as the other benefits derived from having an App in the App Store.
      A Grain of Salt
      • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

        @A Grain of Salt

        Yeah, right. So, if the devs get together and file a class action against Apple for robbing the dev's blind... you're saying that the Apple legal team will defend the dev's huh?
        SonofaSailor
    • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

      @SonofaSailor Except that iOS devs go into the App Store knowing about the 30% - Apple didn't send threatening legal letters which were deliberately obscure about the identity of the company making the threats in the first place. This is a cowardly intimidate and grab, nothing else.
      Ben_E
    • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

      @SonofaSailor Idiot! The 30% Apple charges is already known and agreed to upon the dev submitting the app. This bogus lawsuit by Lodsys is simply extortion and patent trolling... if they had cajones they would have directly sued Apple AND done so saying who they were from the outset rather than attack the smaller devs and keeping who they were hidden.
      athynz
      • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

        @athynz

        I dislike patent trolls ... been there done that ... Low life bottom feeders is way too mild to express my disdain.

        That said, (as I said in the original thread on this) the troll is going where the money is made. Apple doesn't make money by the in-app upgrade 'patent'. They make money by taking a cut of the transaction from hosting the app, collecting the funds, etc. The troll went after the person(s) who profit by directly using the patented utility.
        Now e learn that Apple paid a license fee to the troll for use of their IP. That translates to no actionable grounds against Apple (the licensee) for the troll.

        I will be surprised to learn that the troll granted Apple pass along rights and then either forgot about it or ignored the fact. Even low life bottom sucking lawyers can read agreements. The debate is likely to be if there is clearly defined rights for Apple to indemnify the devs ... Either way, I hope the devs are not harmed.
        existential
    • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

      @SonofaSailor

      This is the best comment of the week! I couldn't have said it better!
      Mic Cox
  • Apple has no shame

    "Apple is licensed to certain Lodsys patents its developers are protected by extension."

    That's exactly what Apple is saying.

    This is comparable to the developers of software applications ("apps") for Microsoft's operating systems claiming that they have the right to use any licences owned by Microsoft! It's ridiculous, it's nonsense, it's dangerous and irresponsible.

    Apple must surely know their argument is a blatant fallacy. Not many business enterprises would dare to take on such a large and cash-rish corporation in court.
    Tim Acheson
    • Look at the patent infringement claim

      @Tim Acheson The Lodsys claim is for: "infringing on the company?s license for in-app purchases". Making the developers pay for what is an App Store service and developers' tool is like having to pay a fee to the company that wrote the text editor you use for coding every time you sell an app.
      BreadintheBone
    • Maybe, but I doubt it

      @Tim Acheson
      Apple Legal is an <i>insanely</i> careful group. If they claim that the <i>terms of their license allow for redistribution</i> then I would bet that they do.

      If that is the case, then Apple is absolutely correct. If they licensed a patent (not a technology since Lodsys doesn't seem to develop anything other than patent applications) and that license allows for incorporation into Apple products, then the original licensee may lose their claim after the incorporation is complete.

      Lodsys didn't create the APIs, they licensed Apple to allow use of their patented ideas in the Apple APIs. From what I can tell by the Lodsys website http://www.lodsys.com they don't actually create an implementation of anything.
      use_what_works_4_U
    • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

      @Tim Acheson Wrong.

      When apple licensed the patent, which deals with server interaction, they licensed their iOS activity to use the covered mechanism. When an iOS develop makes a "CALL" to that API, they are not recreating the mechanism defined in the patent, they are initiating a behavior to be performed between the iOS device and Apple's servers. That's a HUGE distinction.
      lelandhendrix@...
  • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

    Apple's position is comparable to the developers of software applications ("apps") for Microsoft's operating systems claiming that they have the right to use any licences owned by Microsoft! It's ridiculous, it's nonsense, it's dangerous and irresponsible.

    Apple must surely know their argument is a blatant fallacy. Not many business enterprises would dare to take on such a large and cash-rish corporation in court.
    Tim Acheson
    • You Are Correct for MS OS

      @Tim Acheson - As long as it is already licensed in the SDK/API
      Gr8Music
    • RE: Apple to Lodsys: stop trolling our devs

      @Tim Acheson So you're saying that Microsoft developers should pay Microsoft an additional fee whenever they use a technology in one of MS's SDKs? That's news to me!

      In the real world (where Apple haters like you don't get to run the legal system), developers who use an OS maker's SDK for building applications don't have to pay royalties for all of their works. The OS developer, as a service (and to promote their OS), indemnify the technologies included in the SDK so that, once the developer purchases the SDK and other associated tools, they are free to make of it what they wish (as long as they keep within the guidelines, of course).
      ssaha
    • Maybe, but I doubt it

      @Tim Acheson
      Apple Legal is an insanely careful group. If they claim that the terms of their license allow for redistribution then I would bet that they do.

      If that is the case, then Apple is absolutely correct. If they licensed a patent (not a technology since Lodsys doesn't seem to develop anything other than patent applications) and that license allows for incorporation into Apple products, then the original licensee may lose their claim after the incorporation is complete.

      Lodsys didn't create the APIs, they licensed Apple to allow use of their patented ideas in the Apple APIs. From what I can tell by the Lodsys website http://www.lodsys.com they don't actually create an implementation of anything.
      use_what_works_4_U