Lodsys Publishes May 2011 Legal Response to Apple's Challenge

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Over the past two years, a number of app developers have been contacted by patent holding firm Lodsys, demanding licenses for and in some cases filing suit over patents related to in-app purchasing and other functionalities. Earlier this month, Lodsys gained renewed attention when it began a new round of lawsuits targeting a number of developers large and small, including Disney and Gameloft.

    At the time of Lodsys' initial effort to extract licenses from App Store developers, Apple's General Counsel Bruce Sewell sent a letter to Lodsys backing App Store developers and claiming that Apple was "undisputedly licensed" to Lodsys' patents through an arrangement that also protected app developers. Apple later requested and was given limited permission to intervene in at least some legal proceedings on behalf of targeted developers.

    Lodsys had responded to Apple's claims of protection for developers with both public blog posts and a private legal response to Apple in May 2011, and Lodsys had encouraged Apple to publish that legal response, but Apple apparently declined to do so.

    In response to requests from developers seeking more information from Lodsys on the basis for its claims, Lodsys today released a redacted version of its initial legal response to Apple, dated May 31, 2011. Redactions include the removal of specific discussion of Apple's license terms with Lodsys.

    The letter outlines a number of arguments as to why developers are not covered by Apple's license with Lodsys, pointing to Apple's own developer program agreements that strictly limit its relationships with developers to agency appointments rather than any broader business agreements.
    The response from Lodsys then proceeds to walk through six other arguments against Apple's claim that app developers are protected through Apple's license, including discussions of sublicensing, Apple's express disclaimer of any ownership interest in third-party apps, Apple's insistence that developers are solely responsible for liabilities related to their apps, and pass-through licensing issues.

    Nearly two years later, the initial dispute remains unresolved, and Lodsys continues to contact developers in order to obtain licenses to its technologies with over 200 entities large and small now licensed for Lodsys' patents. Many smaller developers have found it simpler to agree to licenses representing small percentages of their revenue rather than face the prospect of lawsuits from Lodsys, but others remain in the crosshairs as Lodsys continues to stake its claims.

    Article Link: Lodsys Publishes May 2011 Legal Response to Apple's Challenge
  2. nepalisherpa macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2011
    What a "load" of ****! But, then again, I don't mind seeing all these "freemium" apps gone! :D
  3. e-coli macrumors 68000


    Jul 27, 2002
    So every developer who want to create an in-app purchase needs to license that right from Lodsys?

    That's never going to work.
  4. trainwrecka macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2007
    Not a fan of I.A.P. and would rather it go away, so maybe developers can make non-IAP versions to get around this.
  5. the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    I happen to agree. I would prefer to pay $20 upfront for an App instead of $1 as an in app purchase. Because most freemuim apps are pay to win games or crippled productivity apps that require the in app purchases to function fully.
  6. zin macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Lodsys is a patent holding company. Correct me if I'm wrong, but these exist purely to hold patents and make a business out of suing people who they claim to be in violation of their patents, whilst not necessarily being related in any way to the actual inventors or original filers of them, nor do they actually use the patents themselves to create products or deliver services?

    It's things like this that clog up the justice system. There must be a backlog of patent cases just like this. The whole system needs dumping and redoing.
  7. iLilana macrumors 6502a


    May 5, 2003
    Alberta, Canada
  8. iGrip macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2010
    I enjoy using Apple's products.

    Therefore, the developers did nothing wrong.

  9. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2010
    Sounds like someone is trying to get rich off semantics.
  10. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    If anyone is at fault, it's either Apple or no one.

    Apple provides ways of integrating IAP into developer apps. Going after developers for utilizing that is like going after customers for buying counterfeit products - they're the evidence of foul play, not the actual people doing illegal things.
  11. iGrip macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2010
    You are wrong. They exist purely to hold patents and make a business out of licensing them.

    Only when miscreants steal their property are they forced to sue anybody.

  12. bmunge, Apr 16, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013

    bmunge macrumors regular

    Mar 7, 2012
    They are manipulating a flaw in our judicial system for the sake of profit. They have no viable claim of ownership of the IAP system. It's a ridiculous scheme that seeks to exploit app developers.
  13. zin macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2010
    United Kingdom
    That is a pretty crummy system. In the business of patents.

    Surely the better way of expanding innovation is to ensure the patents are in the hands of those who are actually using them? If not, then any number of reasons can these patent-holding companies refuse to license their patents in the name of profit.
  14. lilo777 macrumors 603

    Nov 25, 2009
    I have to correct you. Patent holding companies do not "make a business out of suing people". They exist to advance innovation by rewarding the inventors. They collect patents and license them to tech companies. Just like, say, music record companies or publishing companies work with musicians and writers. Then of course, some companies use inventor ideas but do not want to pay. That's where lawsuits come into picture. Apple does the same to protect their intellectual property (but on much bigger scale than any "patent troll").
  15. dennno macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011
    IAP is Apple's biggest money making machine on the App store. There's no way that's going away.

    These 'facts' are coming from Lodsys themselves, so it's likely taken out of context against Apple's arguments to make them look innocent in all of this.
  16. lilo777 macrumors 603

    Nov 25, 2009
    Do you have any doubts that Apple does not treat app developers as their "business partners"?
  17. jowie macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2004
    London ish
    In the UK, the buying of counterfeit goods is technically committing a crime. It might not be right, but that's the way it is.
  18. zin macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2010
    United Kingdom
    But their website states that the inventor of the patents does not receive any revenue from licenses. The only entities receiving revenue are the new owners and Lodsys, which are not innovating using the patents as the inventor would have, but rather making profit purely from holding them. I don't understand how that is advancing innovation.

    It seems to me as though Lodsys are merely acting as middlemen in the name of profit.
  19. krye macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    The patent system in this country needs to change to where you can't sue someone unless you actually have a product. Patents should protect products, not ideas. Anyone can come up with an idea.

    The patent should exist to protect someone from spending $10 million on R&D, hashing out the bugs and then have someone outright copy it, skipping the R&D. That's bad. You shouldn't be able to patent a "time machine" and then sue the guys who actually invents it.
  20. bushido Suspended


    Mar 26, 2008
    in short they want money for something they didnt even invent themselves nor have they any use for. their business should be forbidden like it is in the EU among other places if im not mistaken
  21. Renzatic macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    After everything is said and done, the one thing I find most amazing is that someone actually managed to get a patent for buying and downloading software through an app. I mean how is that any different than, say, purchasing an app through the App Store? Or a browser? Or from a command line on a terminal? They're all using the same steps, the same protocols, the same wires, to achieve roughly the same end results. The only difference is the end target. Is it going to your OS, or an app? If it's an app, well, you owe us a license fee, because we have a patent for information being bought and downloaded while inside an app.

    ...as opposed to not being inside an app.

    ...cuz, you know, that makes all the difference in the world.
  22. SmileyBlast! macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2011
    NPEs or Non Producing Entities should not be allowed to profit by suing. That is not a productive business. Suing for profit just seems like an abuse of the legal system.

    :apple: should Lobby to pass a law to make this illegal.

    Also, how hard would it be to change In App Purchases until it was somehow new, separate and different from the Patent that Lodsys holds?
  23. dennno macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011
    It doesn't really matter what I think in all of this. I'm a developer so I'm a bit biased regarding this. For me it's unfair for Apple to not have informed me about this, but I'm assuming they knew the license extended to devs, it's very obvious Lodsys is only out to get more money for doing absolutely nothing.

    It's a case to settle between Apple and Lodsys. I think suing the bigger devs will force Apple to take swift action.
  24. fraggot macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2009
    Cox's Creek, KY
    I'd be okay if they decided to remove in-app purchases. I hate downloading crippled apps that nickel and dime you for every feature.

    Give me a price and let me buy the entire thing. Everyone always says they don't want to pay for $5-10 apps but after you purchase all the missing parts that's what you end up paying.

    Also making you pay for features that I feel should be included. My biggest example is the recently release Status Board that makes you PAY to do TV Mirroring.

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