Lodsys Responds to Controversy Over Lawsuit Threats

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 16, 2011.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    Last late week, we reported that patent holding firm Lodsys had apparently begun targeting small iOS developers with notices of patent infringement for providing in-app purchase and/or App Store purchase links within their apps. Lodsys was requesting that the developers obtain a license within 21 days or face the prospect of a lawsuit.

    Lodsys has finally written publicly about the notices, putting together a blog offering responses to a number of questions about the company's actions. Among the interesting revelations:

    - Lodsys is targeting developers not because it is seeking to put pressure on Apple, as Apple has already licensed the intellectual property for use in its own products and services, as have Google and Microsoft. Lodsys states that each developer should be responsible for licensing the technology in individual apps, rather than Apple being responsible for an overarching agreement, making an analogy that a hotel owner rather than the owner of the land beneath the hotel is responsible for all services provided to guests.

    - Lodsys' proposed licensing terms equal 0.575% of U.S. revenue for in-app upgrades, with developers also being responsible for past usage.
    - In addressing claims that the patents being used by Lodsys are overly broad and obvious and should never have been granted in the first place, Lodsys argues that with the patents dating back nearly 20 years, that much hindsight naturally makes such inventions seem obvious.

    - The company also seeks to defend its business model as the most efficient way to handle intellectual property licensing for small inventors such as Dan Abelow, who filed the patents in question. While some have criticized Lodsys for pursuing licensing rights for technology it neither invented nor directly uses, the company argues that its existence creates efficiencies that improve the level of innovation, noting that Abelow was able to sell off his rights to the patents in order to focus on new inventions rather than having to focus on the task of licensing. In passing that responsibility off to another entity, each party is able to focus on what they do best and extract value from inventions.

    - Finally, Lodsys notes that it has received a significant amount of hate mail and even death threats from a number of parties, apparently even including those developers who have received notice of licensing requirements. Calling the death threats in particular "seriously uncool", Lodsys argues that such behavior doesn't help the situation and that the company, like the developers, is simply trying to sell its products and make a profit.

    Article Link: Lodsys Responds to Controversy Over Lawsuit Threats
  2. Bluefusion, May 16, 2011
    Last edited: May 16, 2011

    macrumors 6502


    Apr 25, 2003
    New York, NY
    This is utter nonsense.

    Apple provides THE SERVICE OF IN-APP PURCHASES. How is that even remotely similar to "the land beneath a hotel"? More like the crew that built the place.

    Really hoping Apple does the right thing here and tells them off. There's no reason developers should have to go through this kind of legal idiocy over a technology ALREADY owned by their sales system (in this case, Apple).

    Should we conclude from this that Amazon make every individual seller license their "1-Click" technology? Even though they already sell on Amazon?
  3. macrumors 65816


    Jul 24, 2002
    South Orange, NJ
    Sounds like a lot of rationalization for acting like a pathetic patent troll. The part about "extracting value from a patent" is priceless.
  4. macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Maybe they should stop using loopholes to extend their patent and just let it expire if it is as obvious as it is now. That's why patents are time limited, so that after a certain period of benefit by the inventor, society can start benefiting from the invention in question.

    Lodsys needs to let this one go. They have had their time with it.

    This really isn't about In App Purchase. It's about Apps (especially LITE or DEMOs) offering the user a button to "upgrade" to the full app. When that button is pressed, the user is sent back to the App Store, to the proper page. No IAP required.
  5. macrumors 68000


    Jun 9, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Yea, these guys are scumbags.

    Greedy actions imply greedy people. Greedy actions that are defended as "necessary" and "efficient" imply greedy people who are also too cowardly to admit their wrongdoings. :mad:
  6. Frobozz, May 16, 2011
    Last edited: May 16, 2011

    macrumors 65816


    Jul 24, 2002
    South Orange, NJ
    Agreed! This is a classic false analogy. It really has absolutely nothing to do with it. To assume the world of software is even remotely close to real estate also gives us insight into the minds behind these patent trolls. Who else would use a property owner / renter analogy to argue for double-licensing developers? Probably people who own a lot of real estate and don't produce anything with their own hands. People like patent trolls.

    Lastly-- why do they think they can double license? If Apple has actually paid for the right to in-app purchases as part of their offerings, this DOES cover developers. That's the whole point!
  7. macrumors member


    Jul 19, 2006
    Denver, CO
    just gave me an idea...

    20 years ago? I need to get on writing some really vague patents about robots and computerized cars and other future stuff. If I write enough, some of them have to come true. Then I can sell the rights off to some POS company and let them make all the money off of my ideas. As if small businesses needed any more 'taxes'. They have enough to worry about competing with the big guys.
  8. macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    Now, these guys do seem like a bunch of losers looking for a payday, this line just made me crack up.

    Yeah, death threats are "seriously uncool" but then again so is being a troll. Not saying that the death threats were justified, just the way it's worded just made me laugh.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2011
    Gallifrey, 5124
  10. macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2007
    Still, these patent trolls are totally unnerving.
  11. macrumors 68000


    Apr 17, 2008
    Don't blame the patent trolls for a broken patent system. Could have been fixed long ago but no one has had the political scrotum to do so. So lets enjoy the histrionics its after all so much fun watching as well as paying for it.:(
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2005
    Methinks they plan on digging their heels in, though. They stand to make a /lot/ of money if things go their way.

    It is, of course, a load of tosh, though! And I hope it gets kicked out of court in due course...

  13. macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    "...a hotel owner rather than the owner of the land beneath the hotel is responsible for all services provided to guests."

    And the non-sequitur of the month award goes to...
  14. macrumors 65816


    Feb 29, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Let them do it. How much are they going to make off of a free app? The paid version doesn't have an "upgrade" button that links to the App Store. Unless advertisements count.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2011
    I should go back in time and patent the wheel. I'd be rich.
  16. macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2009
    +1 The "patent trolls" are just exploiting the system, and some have a legitimate purpose. The system tends to give out broad patents or grant patents to seemingly un-patentable ideas.
  17. dethmaShine, May 16, 2011
    Last edited: May 16, 2011

    macrumors 68000

    Apr 13, 2010
    Into the lungs of Hell
    I think, Apple would ultimately have to buy or license this particular patent.

    But ever, Lodsys has been a bitch. End of story.

    EDIT: I read the full print again. Apple is licensed to this patent but the developers are not. Lets see what happens.
  18. macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2003
    I still don't see how in-app purchasing qualifies...

    The patent referenced has nothing to do with in-app purchasing in any way. It deals with user feed bac to questions for quality control.

    It would be interesting to see if Apple really does have licensing and to see if they will be going after Android developers now that they have in-app purchasing APIs.
  19. macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    You haven't read the terms of licensing they are proposing. They would get 0.575% of the sales resulting in the use of the Upgrade button. So sales of the paid app.
  20. macrumors member


    Mar 30, 2011
    Dazed and confused

    I hope this gets resolved as we are planning to put inapp purchases in our next app ? I would be good if apple could offer its developers advice and guidance.:confused:
  21. macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2010
    Manchester, UK
  22. danielsan26, May 16, 2011
    Last edited: May 16, 2011

    macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2004
    Very nearly expired patents...

    If their patents are really almost twenty years old, they're almost expired. Why would anyone agree to license their patent for a period likely beyond the expiration of the patent?

    Note to devs...if you do bow to the pressure, make sure you're agreeing to give them $$$ only for the life of the patent.

    Or, find a loophole until they expire.
  23. macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2007
    Has Apple made a statement regarding this? Could they also sue Lodsys for taking their license fee even though Lodsys did not feel Apply was responsible for paying it?
  24. macrumors 68030


    Mar 7, 2007
    Midwest America.
    Why are they going up against individual entities? Because this 'divide and conquer' tactic makes it easy for them to collect tons of money by going after individual players but it can also cost them a lot of money if the people that they seek to profit (feed) off of fight every case and run up Lodsys's legal costs.

    It would seem that the only way around this ******** is to make it as expensive as the people being charged can for these parasites.
  25. macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Small time devs wouldn't even be able to afford the costs probably. Lodsys on the other hand probably has lawyers on their payroll that would either litigate this or do nothing at all, being a patent holding company.

    So in the end, I really doubt your scenario would help anyone but Lodsys.

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