Lodsys sues developers large and small over in-app purchasing patents

Lex Friedman
4 April, 2013
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Remember Lodsys? In May 2011, the patent-holding company warned iOS developers it could sue them over in-app purchasing; Apple told Lodsys to back off; Lodsys responded by suing a bunch of developers later that month and a few more in July of that year. Apple later successfully sought to intervene in that ongoing case.

But Lodsys wasn’t finished. It’s continued to ask developers to pay to license what it says are its patents on in-app purchasing, and claims that hundreds have done so – rather than face potentially costly litigation, anyway. And, as Mac Rumours reports, Lodsys has just kicked off another round of lawsuits. Among its defendants this time around: The Walt Disney Company (over the hugely popular Where’s My Water app, among others), TLA Systems (makers of PCalc), Gameloft, Gameevil, Jirbo, MobileAge, TMSoft and BackFlip Studios. Those companies, of course, range from huge conglomerates (Disney) to literally husband and wife operations (TLA Systems).

None of the developers Macworld reached were willing to comment on the record, due to the legal issues involved. Several said that they had reached out to Apple this morning, but hadn’t yet heard back; nor did Apple yet respond to Macworld‘s request for comment. While Apple intervened in Lodsys’s broader litigation, as mentioned above, it’s unclear whether Apple has legal standing – not to mention corporate motivation – to get involved in these individual lawsuits. Apple has previously argued that its licensing of the Lodsys patents covers its developers.

Lodsys didn’t respond to Macworld’s request for comment, either. The company has voiced its belief that individual developers must license its patents, along with Apple.


By Lex Friedman, Macworld.

Lex uses a MacBook Pro, an iPhone 5, an iPad mini, a Kindle 3, a TiVo HD and a treadmill desk, and loves them all. His latest book, a children’s book parody for adults, is called “The Kid in the Crib.” Lex lives in New Jersey with his wife and three young kids.



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