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Old May 17, 2011, 03:50 PM   #1
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Analysis of Lodsys' Legal Threats from FOSS Patents and EFF







Certainly App Store developers are paying close attention to the legal happenings surrounding the Lodsys situation. Lodsys has threatened to sue some App Store developers over seemingly trivial patent claims. Here's some more reading material if you have a vested interest in the outcome.

FOSS Patents provides a nice FAQ-style question analyzing the situation between Lodsys and App Store developers.
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This business model of targeting the defenseless is not completely new. Since the cost of successfully fending off patent assertions is high, many patent holders set their financial demands at a level below the cost of litigation. And unfortunately there's a whole lot of patent assertion happening all the time against the defenseless, i.e., those who wouldn't be able to afford a lawsuit due to the costs and risks involved.
Meanwhile, Engadget offers their own analysis with the help of the EFF's Julie Samuels:
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The fact that Google and Microsoft and Apple have taken licenses on this already doesn't say that the patent is a great patent, but it does show that at some point Apple decided it was more financially beneficial to take the license than to litigate. Because Apple has already made that value judgement before, they might make it again.
Article Link: Analysis of Lodsys' Legal Threats from FOSS Patents and EFF
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Old May 17, 2011, 09:24 PM   #2
louis Fashion
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Law is law. But picking on a small time developer is somehow......I don't know....Thuggish.

Hope this works out so as to NOT degrade new products coming to the market.
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Old May 18, 2011, 12:38 PM   #3
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A license coming back to haunt them?

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Apple decided it was more financially beneficial to take the license than to litigate.
Lodsys can use that decision by Apple as justification when claiming to developers that the patent applies to iOS in-app purchases. If that claim could have been proven false in court then Apple's litigation could have protected its developers from this situation.

I also wonder if Apple could have licensed the technology on behalf of its developers.
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Old May 18, 2011, 05:37 PM   #4
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I also wonder if Apple could have licensed the technology on behalf of its developers.
I wonder if the argument turns to whether or not Apple's license does cover the developers... Is it licensed for Apple Apps or in the Apple API/development tools.
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Old May 21, 2011, 06:31 PM   #5
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If Apple has indeed licensed this "technology" from Lodsys, what exactly does it cover? Is there any Apple-produced app that has an "In-App" upgrade button? I'm not sure, but I don't think so. If that's the case, then you would think that it would have been pointless for Apple to have licensed something from Lodsys that doesn't have any value (i.e. that doesn't cover the "In-App" upgrade button in apps by non-Apple developers).

Any thoughts?
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Old May 23, 2011, 07:27 AM   #6
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I hope that the closed eco-system will protect the little developer. Finally developer don't have another chance than use the official API provided by Apple. So that might be an argument to justify that the license fee payed by Apple would cover all apps using the eco system.
But thats only wild guessing ...
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Old May 23, 2011, 10:50 AM   #7
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From what I've read elsewhere, apple, google and the rest licensed this patent, yes - but not directly. They licensed a big package of 30,000 patents from a different company, including this one. They probably did that to gain access to a few important ones, with the rest thrown in as a bonus.

This particular patent, plus various others, then got sold off - eventually landing in lodsys' grubby hands. It's quite possible that the patent is pretty much worthless, and apple wouldn't have given it the time of day.

That doesn't really help though, because apple are licensed it seems, and the license agreement might prevent apple from interfering and protecting developers. Hopefully it does, because it's in apple's interest to protect their developers here I believe.
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