Lodsys Targets Disney's 'Where's My Water?' and Others in New Round of Lawsuits Over In-App Purchasing

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    For nearly two years, we've been following the saga of patent troll Lodsys, which has been demanding licenses from and filing lawsuits against developers over in-app purchasing and related functionalities in their apps.

    Apple quickly stepped in on behalf of iOS developers when the situation first arose in May 2011, claiming that its existing license with Lodsys covered developers using iOS development tools, and nearly a year ago Apple was granted limited permission to intervene in lawsuits filed against developers by Lodsys. While Lodsys initially focused on small developers, it did expand its scope to take on gaming heavyweights such as EA, Rovio, and Atari.

    News has been relatively quiet on the Lodsys front for the past year, although the firm did announce last October that a key claim of one of its patents had been upheld following reexamination and tout that it was achieving significant licensing momentum with over 150 companies already signed up to license some or all of the firm's four patents. Many of these firms are small developers who likely felt that taking out a license was a safer solution than trying to fight a lawsuit against Lodsys.

    We've heard that Lodsys has continued to send out notices to app developers over the last few months, and yesterday the firm took on another big name in the industry by filing suit against Disney. As with many of the firm's other lawsuits, Lodsys is citing its '565 and '078 patents in alleging that Disney's apps, including the popular Where's My Water?, contain infringing functionality.
    The lawsuit against Disney is just one of ten filed against app developers by Lodsys over the past several days, with other targets including major iOS developer Gameloft and Paper Toss and DragonVale developer Backflip Studios. Also targeted is TLA Systems, which consists of PCalc developer James Thomson, who was among the first to speak up about threats by Lodsys nearly two years ago.

    Lodsys now touts that over 200 companies hold for its patents, and it seems to be ramping up efforts to expand that number even further, using new lawsuits to pressure developers who have declined to enter into licensing agreements so far.

    Lodsys is targeting not only app developers with its efforts, but also other companies such as major retailers Nordstrom, Burberry, and Godiva. In recent months, Lodsys has filed additional lawsuits against other companies including SanDisk, Volkswagen, Crocs, Dr Pepper Snapple, General Motors, and HP, demonstrating the broad range of companies being targeted by the effort.

    It is currently unclear exactly where things stand with Apple's efforts to defend its developers from threats by Lodsys, but Lodsys has clearly been emboldened by its licensing and patent challenge successes and is continuing to take aggressive steps to capitalize on its patent holdings.

    Article Link: Lodsys Targets Disney's 'Where's My Water?' and Others in New Round of Lawsuits Over In-App Purchasing
  2. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
  3. macrumors 6502


    Mar 30, 2009
    That's AWESOME! Finally they have bitten more then they can chew. I hope Disney will put these trolls out of business. They're really hurting indie developers :/
  4. macrumors 68000


    Oct 2, 2007
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    Disney are no stranger to the courtroom. This should be interesting now!
  6. macrumors 603

    Sep 19, 2003
    They've targeted big companies before this. I really hope Disney can end this farce, but I wouldn't expect a happy resolution anytime soon.
  7. macrumors 65816


    Mar 26, 2008
    I love how Lodsys is described in the article-- on a site known for its objectivity-- as being a "patent troll." No shame whatsoever :D
  8. macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2007
  9. macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2008
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    I'm rooting for Lodsys on this one. I hope the win and in-app purchasing dies because no one wants to license it.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009
    Till this day, I do not understand how Patent Trolling is not illegal in the united states, how about simply forbidding these kind of practices? If you're not planning on contributing to the product, you don't get the patent. If you plan on contributing to that product but you haven't done so for at least 5 years.. your patents are revoked, simple as that... WHY this is still a problem in the US is beyond me.
  11. macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011
    When will this annoying pest of a "company" just go away.
  12. macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    LOL! Because level packs are a huge deal when it comes to IAP? Not that Disney doesn't do the typical coin money grab in its Gardens of Time game, but you CAN'T fight over something innocent as Where's My Water? The level packs are GREAT, and they add cool new gameplay.
  13. macrumors 65816


    Mar 12, 2009
    Wichita, KS
    I think either of these quotes sum this up rather well:

    "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." - Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Tora! Tora! Tora!

    "I've made a huge mistake" - Arrested Development


    Well, it would be a different story if Lodsys were legally fighting Apple on this, but they aren't. They "licensed" the patent to Apple, and then turned around and starting filing lawsuits against all of the developers that were using the Apple license. This reeks of planned malevolence from the start.
  14. macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2002
    Wait, what does Lodsys produce... besides lawsuits?
  15. AlphaHumanus, Apr 3, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2012
    Because this is America. Go take a look at that damn Monsanto bill that just passed.

    You know how many games/much content I wouldn't have access to if it wasn't for IAP and the "Freemium" model?

    A La Carte FTW.
  16. macrumors regular


    Sep 29, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    In a way, I agree... I hate in app purchases... Too many apps try to milk extra money for extra features that should just be a part of the app... Even paid apps...

    And don't get me started on these "freemium" games... Some are impossible to play or take forever to play unless you buy coins or other garbage to be able to progress...
  17. macrumors 65816


    Mar 26, 2008
    Actually, according to their own Web site... nothing.
  18. Cougarcat, Apr 3, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013

    macrumors 603

    Sep 19, 2003
    Whether or not you like in-app purchasing should be irrelevant. Patent trolls are bad regardless, and should never be rewarded.

    Monsanto makes Lodsys and EA look like a bunch of fairies.
  19. macrumors 68030


    Sep 6, 2007
    These guys are the king of patent trolls. Companies like this should be shut down.
  20. macrumors 65816


    Jul 21, 2004
    This story effects me in no way as I'm not a developer and don't download Apps. At the same time it irritates me all get out.
  21. macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    We can generalize this further: trolls are bad and should never be rewarded.
  22. macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2002
  23. macrumors 65816


    Mar 26, 2008
    Exactly what reward would they be getting in that particular case? They get their patents, we lose IAP, they can't keep up their revenue stream, they die. Sounds like a win-win to me.
  24. macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2007
    San Francisco
    Except this loophole in patent law won't be fixed, thus allowing more "companies" to terrorize small developers in the future over many more trivial patents.
  25. macrumors 68040

    Feb 2, 2008
    These guys needs to be sued out of existence.

Share This Page