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Lodsys just went nuclear on iOS app devs

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.

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.]