Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

Summary: Lodsys, the firm behind the threatening letters being sent to app developers, has now pulled the trigger and acted on its promise to sue iOS app developers who it believes are infringing on its patents.

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Lodsys, the firm behind the threatening letters being sent to app developers, has now pulled the trigger and acted on its promise to sue iOS app developers who it believes are infringing on its patents.

The news was broken on Lodsys' blog:

Lodsys chose to move its litigation timing to an earlier date than originally planned, in response to Apple's threat, in order to preserve its legal options.

Lodsys goes on to dispute Apple's assertions that iOS developers are 'undeniably licensed' for the technology:

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.

Lodsys also encourages iOS devs to carefully read their developer agreements:

If Apple's contracts, or APIs, or actions cause damage to the Application Developer, then Apples total liability to the Application Developer is limited to a maximum of $50. So, Apple's downside risk to fight this is $50 per developer and the Application Developer is expected to self-insure for everything remaining.

Lodsys is also offering a bizarre '$1,000 offer' to devs who have been sent infringement notices if it turns out that Apple's license covers them:

Lodsys offers to pay $1,000 to each entity to whom we have sent an infringement notice for infringement on the iOS platform, or that we send a notice to in the future, if it turns out that the scope of Apple's existing license rights apply to fully license you with respect to our claim relating to your App on Apple iOS.

It's a bad day for iOS developers out there. But Android devs are also in the firing line.

[UPDATE: According to Florian Mueller, here are the developers being sued:

  • Combay, Inc. of Roanoke, Texas; accused of infringement of Lodsys's '565 and '078 patents with (at least) Mega Poker Online Texas Holdem for iPhone
  • Iconfactory, Inc. of Greensboro, North Carolina; accused of infringement of Lodsys's '565 and '078 patents with (at least) Twitterrific for iPhone, Twitteriffic for iPad, and Twitteriffic for Mac
  • Illusion Labs AB of Malmö, Sweden; accused of infringement of Lodsys's '565 and '078 patents with (at least) Labyrinth for iPhone and Labyrinth for Android
  • Michael G. Karr [doing business as] Shovelmate of Las Vegas, Nevada; accused of infringement of Lodsys's '565 and '078 patents with (at least) 69 Positions for iPhone
  • Quickoffice, Inc. of Austin Texas; accused of infringement of Lodsys's '565 and '078 patents with (at least) Quickoffice Connect for iPhone
  • Richard Shinderman of Brooklyn, New York; accused of infringement of Lodsys's '565 and '078 patents with (at least) Hearts and Daggers for iPhone
  • Wulven Games of Hanoi, Vietnam; accused of infringement of Lodsys's '565 and '078 patents with (at least) Shadow Era for iPhone

Bad day for iOS and Android devs.]

Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Mobile OS, Software Development

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35 comments
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  • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

    Apple better squash this fast. The number of Apps with in-App purchases could number in the 10's of thousands. Lodsys could have a field day if they're right (don't see how though).
    jmiller1978
    • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

      @jmiller1978 I agree.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

        @Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

        I just read the Dev Agreement (albeit Lodsys linked to a very old revision of it) and nowhere does it say that the developer is responsible for licensing anything dealing with the in-App API and the API is mentioned plenty in the agreement. What IS in the agreement is that the developer must agree to Google's ToS for the Maps API but nothing about Lodsys at all.

        The Lodsys case is complete crap and they'll have a hard time holding this up in court.
        jmiller1978
    • Apple API

      @jmiller1978 Agree - Apple has to jump in big - as long as the developers are using APIs exposed by the OS they've traditionally been legally insulated from any claims - hopefully rather than buying these slugs out, Apple just overtly indemnifies all developers using their APIs and then sues Lodsys into the ground for malicious prosecution
      archangel9999
      • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

        Lodsys, it was nice knowing you. Soon, you'll be part of Apple Inc - or at least your patents will.
        nix_hed
  • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

    Yet another reason to avoid Apple at all costs. Why bother?
    Droid101
    • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

      @Droid101 ... and Android, so it seems ...
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

        @Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
        Nope! See below.
        Droid101
      • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

        @Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

        Yep good idea . . . go Android and download free malware.

        Isn't it about time you got the idea that nothing is perfect!
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

        @Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

        Your link to the Lodsys statement is not very informative. There is only one mention of the word 'Android' on that doc, and about the same in your own article.

        This is not very informative.

        I am also surprised that throughout your entire article, you do not even bother to mention what the Lodsys technology even IS. Do you really think that the reader should already know, or should have to resort to carefully crafted Google searches to figure it out?
        mejohnsn
      • haha..... Not True!

        @Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

        The only Android developer listed is being hit for iOS and what makes iOS vulnerable to this, is that it's using Lodsys in app services licensed API's where Apple is paid from as well. In Android Market no in app purchased Lodsys software is used!!!

        That developer is using the same in App purchase tools for both platforms! .....and no other Android developer has been sued if the only platform they design for is Android!!!
        KronJohn
    • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

      @Droid101

      Read the article again. slowly and carefully.
      msalzberg
      • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

        @msalzberg
        Herpderp, Android devs don't have to offer an in-app purchase. They can offer a link to an outside site to make purchases.

        Apple devs, not so lucky. If you offer a link, you have to offer the in-app purchase as well, putting you at risk of a lawsuit. WHOOPS.
        Droid101
      • @Droid101: Nope. You are wrong.

        @msalzberg

        That is for subscription based and content purchasing. You can offer a link page to an upgrade from a lite to a"+" app without doing in-app. The IAP does make a much more seamless upgrade leaving you with a ingle app. Since these are targeting upgrades...

        Impacts iOS and Android equally. Just developers don't make money on Android.

        This is a one App VS 2 Apps thing. You can do two separate Apps.
        Bruizer
    • And Android as well.

      @Droid101

      Read the article slowly. iOS can offer links as well but those links are also being targeted.

      Nice try at your FUD. Better luck making stuff up on future posts.
      Bruizer
    • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

      @Droid101

      Incorrect. Software patents are the problem, not Apple.
      DonRupertBitByte
      • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

        @DonRupertBitByte

        Internationally renowned computer programming expert Donald Knuth would agree with you, but so far, the courts do not.
        mejohnsn
    • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

      @Droid101 Sure, we can go to android and deal with all kinds of malware from a TRUSTED repository... or did you not hear that they found even MORE apps in the Android Market chock full of malware? Let's avoid Android at all costs because some jackass developer put malware laden apps out. No? Cue the double standards there drive by troll boy.

      You ABAers make perfect sense... really. Sure, let's avoid Apple because some jackass patent troll is suing the developers instead of having the cajones to come after Apple directly - and did not have the cajones to identify themselves when this initially was reported. I'm sick of all of these patent trolls and I sincerely hope that Apple wins this one and Lodsys is forced to give that $1000 per dev in addition to the legal fees and egg on their face.
      athynz
  • are Lodsys a $CO subsidiary?

    or may be M$ affiliated?
    Linux Geek
    • RE: Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

      @Linux Geek
      MS already cashes in on every Android phone sold. They wouldn't waste the time on going after small devs.
      Droid101