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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today issued a statement calling on Apple to defend App Store developers against patent lawsuit threats from Lodsys, a company seeking licenses from developers for their use of in app purchasing and upgrade links.

The EFF lays out its case that because the developers are taking advantage of Apple's developer tools to deploy the functionality being cited in the dispute, Apple is in the best position to defend against the threat.
This is a problem that lawyers call a misallocation of burden. The law generally works to ensure that the party in the best position to address an issue bears the responsibility of handling that issue. In the copyright context, for example, the default assumption is that the copyright owners are best positioned to identify potential infringement. This is because, among other reasons, copyright owners know what content they own and which of their works have been licensed. Here, absent protection from Apple, developers hoping to avoid a legal dispute must investigate each of the technologies that Apple provides to make sure none of them is patent-infringing. For many small developers, this requirement, combined with a 30 percent fee to Apple, is an unacceptable cost.
Apple's developer agreement, however, precludes developers from turning to Apple for assistance in legal disputes, meaning the company could leave developers to fend for themselves.

Many observers have, however, argued that it is in Apple's best interest to step into the situation, shouldering the cost and effort in order to protect its valuable ecosystem of independent App Store developers. If developers are reluctant to embrace the App Store for fear of being targeted by lawsuits driven by their use of Apple technology, the platform could suffer significantly.
By putting the burden on those least able to shoulder it, both Apple and Lodys are harming not just developers but also the consumers who will see fewer apps and less innovation. We hope that going forward companies like Apple will do what's right and stand up for their developers and help teach the patent trolls a lesson.
Meanwhile, one week has passed since the first notices from Lodsys arrived in developers' hands, leaving two weeks until the firm's deadline for licensing passes and at which point it has threatened to file suits against the developers. Apple has yet to address the issue publicly, but the company is famous for waiting to speak until it has a firm grasp of the facts at hand rather than trying to address public relations crises as quickly as possible.

Article Link: EFF Urges Apple to Support Developers Against Lodsys Patent Threat
 

ratzzo

macrumors 6502a
Apr 20, 2011
826
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Apple should obviously aim at protecting those who have made its Store what it is today.
 
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dethmaShine

macrumors 68000
Apr 13, 2010
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Into the lungs of Hell
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Popeye206

macrumors 68040
Sep 6, 2007
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It will be interesting to see how this pans out. Seems odd they waited so long to start protecting this patent. Very troll like.
 
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HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
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Apple will have to respond. But, it takes time for them to investigate these things. Patent law is notoriously obscure and convoluted and I'm sure there's many, many possibilities and potential pitfalls involved. Apple has to be very careful as to what response they make and the exact wording of it. If they're already licensing Lodsys patents themselves, it gets even trickier for them.

Look at Apple's history, they generally do not respond to anything until they have a complete, thoroughly investigated solution or explanation ready to go. iPhone4 antennas, the cel tower "tracking", the Hon Hai suicides and worker abuse allegations, the white iPhone production problems, the various security exploits, and so on. They wait until they have the full grasp of the situation before they officially respond. Which is smart but can be annoying for those with a vested interest.

While it may look like they have their head buried in the sand and are doing nothing, I'm sure that is not the case.
 
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TomMcIn

macrumors regular
Oct 22, 2008
107
176
Canada
Will Others Just Free Load

Don't see any mention of the RIMS, Androids and other software stores being involved or asked to take a stand. Hopefully, they will do their part and not just free load on Apple's efforts. A concerted effort by all of them would certainly have a better result.
 
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Earendil

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2003
1,549
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Washington
Apple should obviously aim at protecting those who have made its Store what it is today.

But only if they can. Apple has licensed the technology from them, so Apple admits by their own action that the patent is valid and worth licensing.

What the case will rest on is whether developers are protected by Apple's license. If Apple determines that they aren't, there is little that Apple can do but burn their own money, and burn that of the developers since until this is resolved, I'm sure the offending apps won't be allowed on the App Store.
 
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damage00

macrumors member
Mar 3, 2008
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Developers should expect something for that 30% Apple App Store tax besides just distribution.
 
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the vj

macrumors 6502a
Nov 23, 2006
654
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Well Apple, use a tiny portion of those billions of $$$ you have to place things in order, it is just fair.
 
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HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
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Don't see any mention of the RIMS, Androids and other software stores being involved or asked to take a stand. Hopefully, they will do their part and not just free load on Apple's efforts. A concerted effort by all of them would certainly have a better result.

Yet. That's because they're not nearly as profitable or high profile as Apple's App Store and because Lodsys is casting a narrow net, as if they are "testing the waters". They know anything related to Apple gets attention, headlines, and they hope, faster results.
 
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HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
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Well Apple, use a tiny portion of those billions of $$$ you have to place things in order, it is just fair.

I'm sure Apple could pretty easily pay off Lodsys and protect developers. The problem is, that validates the whole scheme, and this is just one patent of thousands out there. If Apple caves, many others will surely follow, then it really becomes a problem. Apple cannot afford to cover licensing costs for (potentially) dozens or hundreds of these patents for all developers. Plus, if small developers start recieving a bunch of these lawsuits on a regular basis, think of the chilling effect that will have on the whole developer community. It's a disaster waiting to happen. They need to find a way to shut this down without encouraging other trolls.
 
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MongoTheGeek

macrumors 68040
Scorched Earth...

Any lawyers in the house? I guess there is no way to launch a pre-emptive strike? File a law suit somewhere besides Texas, to get the patent declared invalid as obvious, not actually an innovation, then perhaps file against other patents the company owns, even the ones they aren't trying to hit the developers with? Maybe file a class action suit.

Xeroxed threatening letters are cheap. If Lodsys pays a real price for the behavior maybe we can scare off some of the other trolls.
 
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chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,801
2,352
Isla Nublar
Apple will have to respond. But, it takes time for them to investigate these things. Patent law is notoriously obscure and convoluted and I'm sure there's many, many possibilities and potential pitfalls involved. Apple has to be very careful as to what response they make and the exact wording of it. If they're already licensing Lodsys patents themselves, it gets even trickier for them.

Look at Apple's history, they generally do not respond to anything until they have a complete, thoroughly investigated solution or explanation ready to go. iPhone4 antennas, the cel tower "tracking", the Hon Hai suicides and worker abuse allegations, the white iPhone production problems, the various security exploits, and so on. They wait until they have the full grasp of the situation before they officially respond. Which is smart but can be annoying for those with a vested interest.

While it may look like they have their head buried in the sand and are doing nothing, I'm sure that is not the case.

Couldn't have said it better. Apple has a lot of good employees but none are miracle workers and things like this take time to research and investigate. Apple doesn't like to lose and I'm sure they are busy whipping up something as we speak. If they lost this many developers would be pissed and possibly rip their software from the App store. Apple isn't going to want that since its their money too.

Developers should expect something for that 30% Apple App Store tax besides just distribution.

App store tax? I don't think so. Your paying for hosting, free publicity on the biggest software store available with an insanely easy sale system, and an opportunity to have your app rated by many people or displayed on the front page. 30% is really quite reasonable. If you want to see robbery look at console game developers who usually see 1 - 2% of the profits of a game while the publisher takes the rest.

I'm sure Apple could pretty easily pay off Lodsys and protect developers. The problem is, that validates the whole scheme, and this is just one patent of thousands out there. If Apple caves, many others will surely follow, then it really becomes a problem. Apple cannot afford to cover licensing costs for (potentially) dozens or hundreds of these patents for all developers. Plus, if small developers start recieving a bunch of these lawsuits on a regular basis, think of the chilling effect that will have on the whole developer community. It's a disaster waiting to happen. They need to find a way to shut this down without encouraging other trolls.

Agreed. I would rather them take their time and squash this rather than cave to it.
 
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Popeye206

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Sep 6, 2007
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+1

They always seem to be cautious.
 
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juicedropsdeuce

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2010
327
0
Any lawyers in the house? I guess there is no way to launch a pre-emptive strike? File a law suit somewhere besides Texas, to get the patent declared invalid as obvious, not actually an innovation, then perhaps file against other patents the company owns, even the ones they aren't trying to hit the developers with? Maybe file a class action suit.

Xeroxed threatening letters are cheap. If Lodsys pays a real price for the behavior maybe we can scare off some of the other trolls.

LOL. You should go to law school. You can be the first lawyer to do pro-bono work that a billion-dollar company should be doing to help themselves. :rolleyes:
 
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CFreymarc

Suspended
Sep 4, 2009
3,969
1,149
Apple will have to respond. But, it takes time for them to investigate these things. Patent law is notoriously obscure and convoluted and I'm sure there's many, many possibilities and potential pitfalls involved. Apple has to be very careful as to what response they make and the exact wording of it. If they're already licensing Lodsys patents themselves, it gets even trickier for them.

My take is that Apple Legal is going into overtime on this one. The whole idea of patent holder going after implementers of a third party core technology has rather weak president. I expect one of the following to occur just after Memorial Day weekend.

1) Apple counter-sues Lodsys going after invalidation by showing prior art.
2) Apple settles out of court with Lodsys for some sort of license.
3) Apple buys Lodsys.

Let's get ready to rumble!
 
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ViviUO

macrumors 6502
Jul 4, 2009
305
18
Back in 1992 I filed a patent for internet communication hubs known as forums. Now that the time is right, I am going to sue a bunch of websites.

Die Lodsys. Of course, since I have a patent on death, you will have to pay me first.
 
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ten-oak-druid

macrumors 68000
Jan 11, 2010
1,980
0
My opinion is that Lodsys has a right to its patent. But then I saw that Apple is complying with that patent already. Can one application of the patent require both Apple and the developers to pay patent right costs? If Apple is already paying for the use of it, does that not cover the developers selling apps within Apple's app store and running on Apple's iOS devices?

Should be interesting.
 
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aeaglex07

macrumors 6502
Mar 18, 2007
399
1
United States
But only if they can. Apple has licensed the technology from them, so Apple admits by their own action that the patent is valid and worth licensing.

What the case will rest on is whether developers are protected by Apple's license. If Apple determines that they aren't, there is little that Apple can do but burn their own money, and burn that of the developers since until this is resolved, I'm sure the offending apps won't be allowed on the App Store.


thats a very good point. I think the devs are protected since Apple owns the distribution channel, which is nature of this patent. but we shall see. I predict a payoff, i mean settlement.
 
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EatSleepMac

macrumors newbie
May 16, 2011
20
0
New York
Apple

I doubt Apple will just leave its developers hanging like that. I'm sure they're just taking time to come up with the right course of action. If they do decide to let "developers fend for themselves" I could see a massive boycott from many indie devs. Basically Apple will not let this go unnoticed.
 
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miografico

macrumors member
May 16, 2011
97
0
Apple will have to respond. But, it takes time for them to investigate these things. Patent law is notoriously obscure and convoluted and I'm sure there's many, many possibilities and potential pitfalls involved. Apple has to be very careful as to what response they make and the exact wording of it. If they're already licensing Lodsys patents themselves, it gets even trickier for them.

Look at Apple's history, they generally do not respond to anything until they have a complete, thoroughly investigated solution or explanation ready to go. iPhone4 antennas, the cel tower "tracking", the Hon Hai suicides and worker abuse allegations, the white iPhone production problems, the various security exploits, and so on. They wait until they have the full grasp of the situation before they officially respond. Which is smart but can be annoying for those with a vested interest.

While it may look like they have their head buried in the sand and are doing nothing, I'm sure that is not the case.

I would argue that this is potentially a lot bigger than all the aforementioned items in your post.

I honestly have a bad feeling about this one. I am starting to think they are going to make a simple we don't believe this to to be the case announcement and wait to see how it plays out in court.

I develop for iDevices. I like Apple's toolsets for development. I appreciate the licensing model. However, I have great fear that they aren't going to do a thing, but say we don't believe developers are violating your patents, but take it to court.

Anyone here with any real history targeting Apple platform(s) for development knows full well they have hung developers out to dry in the past.

If this winds up going down a dark road then the best we can hope for is Lodsys suing a larger firm who becomes annoyed enough to in turn counter-sue Apple to get them involved by force. And, before anybody says that cannot happen because of Apple's license agreement - some big firm is going to make the case that Apple cannot protect themselves from liability trying to license technology it doesn't have the rights to in the first place. That's only going to happen if Lodsys makes the mistake of going after a large firm with an actual legal team...

I have had two clients put contracts on hold with me for products they were interested in having us develop. This isn't an antenna issue, it is certainly not a workers rights issue this is the whole ecosystem up for grabs and the longer they wait massive amounts of money is lost all around.

The way this is handled will put the entire future of small development outfits on the App Store up for grabs.
 
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the vj

macrumors 6502a
Nov 23, 2006
654
0
I'm sure Apple could pretty easily pay off Lodsys and protect developers. The problem is, that validates the whole scheme, and this is just one patent of thousands out there. If Apple caves, many others will surely follow, then it really becomes a problem. Apple cannot afford to cover licensing costs for (potentially) dozens or hundreds of these patents for all developers. Plus, if small developers start recieving a bunch of these lawsuits on a regular basis, think of the chilling effect that will have on the whole developer community. It's a disaster waiting to happen. They need to find a way to shut this down without encouraging other trolls.


But imagine, in order to use YOUR STORE I have to pay for 3rd people patents. Is like any of use being sued for using patents running on OSX.

If Apple does not do anything, then the problem will grow beyond this! Now every developer that creates "a feature" will start suing every single developer that uses it.

Imagine: I designed and patented the infrared sensor of every mighty mouse, or the software that process that optical signal into data. Now I can suit ever user that makes money from my invention.

A tile wave of demands like that will happen if there are not rules established. Because Apple was the company who ask you to use that sort of system.
 
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