Lodsys Threatens to Sue App Store Developers Over In-App Purchases and Upgrade Links

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 13, 2011.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    Yesterday, we received word from Rob Gloess of Computer LogicX, the company behind the Mix & Mash and Mix & Mash LITE applications for iOS, that he had received legal documents threatening a patent lawsuit over the use of an "upgrade" button in the lite version of his application linking users to the App Store where they could purchase the full version.
    The patent in question was filed in December 2003 as part of series of continuations on earlier patent applications dating back to 1992. The patent is credited to Dan Abelow, who sold his extensive portfolio of patents to holding firm Lodsys in 2004. Lodsys is indeed the company issuing the threats of a lawsuit regarding the patent in question.

    Computer LogiX is not the only App Store developer being hit with threats of a lawsuit, as Cult of Mac notes that James Thomson, the developer behind PCalc, has been hit with a similar notice. While Thomson has not identified the company pursuing the action, the timing and details suggest that Lodsys is also responsible.
    Thomson has reached out to Apple for guidance, and it remains to be seen how things will play out. According to Thomson, the patent holder is demanding that a license be negotiated within 21 days or a lawsuit will be filed.

    At least one other developer is cited in the report as receiving similar notice of patent infringement, and that total will almost certainly grow as awareness of the situation increases, so it appears that the action is a relatively widespread one by Lodsys.

    Notably, Lodsys cited the same patent, among others, when it filed suit against a host of major printer companies earlier this year.

    Article Link: Lodsys Threatens to Sue App Store Developers Over Purchase Links
  2. macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2005
    I hope Apple steps in and eviscerates the patent troll.
  3. macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
    Now these are trolls. A letter or two from Apple Legal would make them piss their pants I suspect.
  4. (L)
    macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2005
    In whose errant daydream is the upgrade button to be construed as violating some nobody's patent?
  5. macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    I bet they think that going after small companies will make this easier for them.

    But this is definitely something that will get Apple's attention. I wonder how well their shakedown plan will go once they have a billion-dollar company breathing down their neck.

  6. macrumors G3

    Jul 25, 2007
    um, no.

    Did you read the patent? It has a very early priority date, before people were thinking about this sort of thing.
  7. arn
    macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    The model seems to be the same as Righthaven's. Threaten to sue small time devs, and extort a license fee, as the cost of defending it court will be much higher.

  8. macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

    Oct 22, 2009
    It looks like they've patented the act of buying things, what a fantastic idea :cool:
  9. macrumors member

    Feb 21, 2010
    Has anyone patented air yet? Now that I've mentioned it I better rush down to the patent office ...

    You should all stop breathing until I get this matter settled or I may have to back-charge you for material consumed. :rolleyes:
  10. macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Unfortunately, this may end up working out well for them. If the patent is legally solid (I have no idea) then Apple may end up buying it and telling developers they won't enforce it just so they can keep using it.

    So these clowns may actually get away with a big check.

    But whether it's a buy-out or just legal-threats I can't see Apple staying neutral. I suspect they'll take some kind of action.
  11. macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2010
    Hey Lodasys

    Hey Loda(*****)sys... I got two middle fingers and they are pointed directly at you. Get a life and stop bothering hard working people. Idiots.
  12. macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2004
    I patented washing dishes with soap, before people were thinking about that sort of thing.
  13. macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2009
    Sheesh. Each day it's becoming more apparent that the patent system simply hasn't yet adapted to industrialized society.
  14. macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    normally these lawsuits are legit, but the 1990's and probably the 80's as well had a huge shareware fad. you download software and buy a key to unlock it
  15. Guest


    Oct 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hmm...... I'm thinking about filing a patent for the "Post Reply" button.

    I hope Apple helps these devs out.
  16. macrumors 65816


    Feb 23, 2010
    Lagrange Point
    I think the key to stopping this is not to be defensive, but for Apple to launch a war of total destruction. Stage one would be to show prior art. Programs distributed by BBS and disks handed from person to person were doing this as early as the 1980's. Just download the program, then enter your payment code to unlock the full version and remove the nag screen.

    The next stage is to find something you can sue these guys for and run them out of business. If they have no vulnerabilities, find prior art on every patent they own, then out compete them in every market they are in.

    companies that own real IP should have the right to protect their IP. Companies like this give patent holders a very bad name.

    I vote for a spontaneous existence failure.
  17. macrumors 65816


    Mar 22, 2010
    London, UK
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    It reminds me of the EDGE trademark scam

  18. macrumors 6502

    Dec 25, 2007
    I should have patented the 'OK' button, back before people even thought of acknowledging things that appeared on their screen.
  19. macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2008
    This software patent situation is getting seriously out of hand, and the laws involved should come under serious review. How people can expect to be able to hold patents on things as obvious as an button that links to the premium version is beyond me. This has also been used by software developers for years before this patent existed.
  20. macrumors member

    May 20, 2004
    um, you do know that obvious inventions are not (supposed to be) patentable, right?
  21. macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2007
    Having actually read the patent, it doesn't look like it's the update button but rather the "If you like this app, rate it" functionality that's covered by the patent.


    This is easy to remove and an annoyance besides.

    The patent likely doesn't cover third party ratings OR external interactions like surveys, since companies like BizRate had been doing this since the late 90s.
  22. macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2009
    If this was Apple threatening a lawsuit over one of it's patents the tone here would be much different. Jus' sayin'.
  23. macrumors 65816


    Feb 23, 2010
    Lagrange Point
    Thinking back, I think IBM did something like this in the 1960's.
  24. macrumors 601


    Jun 26, 2009
    long island NY
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Wow, I hope apple will destroy this patient and the holder.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2003
    Actually, it looks like they patented questionnaires.

    Performed remotely with information sent back to a central location.

    The patent is so rambling and verbose and mis-guided, it is hard to see what they are trying to patent. It reads more like a users guide than a patent.

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