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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Patent holding firm Lodsys made news two weeks ago when they sent patent infringement notices to several small iOS developers over the use of In-App purchases and upgrade links in their apps. Lodsys is demanding that developers pay a licensing fee or face a potential lawsuit. While Apple has publicly backed their iOS developers against Lodsys, the legal status of the entire situation remains murky. Lodsys was still sending out legal notices to iOS developers at least up until Apple's formal response. Apple has claimed that their existing patent licenses cover their developers' usage.

Based on a Google groups discussion, it appears that Lodsys is also going after Android developers. At least one Android developer has been targeted with the same Patent infringement claims from Lodsys:
We recently implemented in-app purchases for our Android application and several weeks later we received a letter from Lodsys, claiming that we infringed on their patents.

Have any other Android developers out there been sent a letter? Has Google taken any action on this issue yet? Has Google given direction to any developers that have been hit by this? We are obviously a small shop and are not financially capable of defending ourselves over a litigation.
This news may even be somewhat reassuring to iOS developers. Like Apple, it seems unlikely that Google will let this stand. Google is also similarly believed to be a licensee of the same patent. Lodsys claims, however, that these licenses do not extend to individual developers on each platform.

Article Link: Lodsys Also Targeting Android Developers with Patent Infringement Claims
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
this is a reason why Apple, Google and MS should all step up and just fight the guy and get the patent declared invalid. Lodsys and others are going to use things like this and target all the devs.
 
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ComputersaysNo

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2010
415
3
Amsterdam
It looks like Lodsys is trying to rewrite the story of David and Goliath. Hitting a giant with a rock is one thing, aggravating giants with billions of dollars is another.
 
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iVirusYx

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2009
31
12
Well... you can tell that Lodsys has some huge balls of steel... Going against Apple and Google at the same time... I bet they are soon also targeting Windows Phone developers... :rolleyes: Well, good luck with that Sir!

But in other ways... I think they want to be bought up for a good price... Like this they can force out more money for their company.
Or they can raise the price for the patent so that every developer is under the hood of their platform owners.
 
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batchtaster

macrumors 65816
Mar 3, 2008
1,031
217
Buy the company, fire all the employees, put the patents into the public domain.

Just out of spite.
 
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jmpnop

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2010
821
34
This is too much, Apple has licensed it for developers and it'll will be the same with Google. These careless trolls are desperately trying to make some money. Its time Apple and Google silence these trolls once and for all.
 
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kalsta

macrumors 68000
May 17, 2010
1,580
234
Australia
What a unique business goal these guys have — to become the most loathsome stench in the nostrils of developers, corporate giants and public alike, while raking in all the money they can. Somehow I don't imagine the baseball caps with embroidered company logo are a big hit with Lodsys staff.
 
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thelonelylimo

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2010
489
27
Ohio
What a unique business goal these guys have — to become the most loathsome stench in the nostrils of developers, corporate giants and public alike, while raking in all the money they can. Somehow I don't imagine the baseball caps with embroidered company logo are a big hit with Lodsys staff.

They're a bunch of crooks.
 
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mw360

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2010
1,883
2,129
Buy the company, fire all the employees, put the patents into the public domain.

Just out of spite.

I doubt it has any employees. What would they do all day? And to buy the company you'd need to give them lots of money. It's probably exactly what they're after.
 
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cal6n

macrumors 68020
Jul 25, 2004
2,032
146
Gloucester, UK
This is too much, Apple has licensed it for developers and it'll will be the same with Google. These careless trolls are desperately trying to make some money. Its time Apple and Google silence these trolls once and for all.

Maybe not. Part of Apple's legal argument is that their developers are covered due to the curated (google would say "closed") nature of the ecosystem. Here's a quote from Apple's response:

"These licensed products and services enable Apple’s App Makers to communicate with end users through the use of Apple’s own licensed hardware, software, APIs, memory, servers, and interfaces, including Apple’s App Store."

Android's "open" nature means that developers are not obliged to use google's channels and users are able to download apps from anywhere and install them via their SD cards. This is a very different legal situation and I can't see Apple's argument applying to android.


I imagine Google will step in now that Apple did.

Again, maybe not. Google have shown a distinct reluctance to stand up for hardware manufacturers hit by patent litigation. Why should they treat their developers any differently?
 
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ChazUK

macrumors 603
Feb 3, 2008
5,390
24
Essex (UK)
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; 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)

What other application stores have in app purchases? (Windows Marketplace, OVI Store, Blackberry Appworld etc)

I wonder if this will overspill onto even more places. Could the likes of PSN and Xbox Live be dragged in too? Would be interesting to see if they're willing to take on some big game developers in the console world too.
 
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spillproof

macrumors 68020
Jun 4, 2009
2,028
2
USA
Again, maybe not. Google have shown a distinct reluctance to stand up for hardware manufacturers hit by patent litigation. Why should they treat their developers any differently?

Why would a software company defend the hardware manufactures? Thats like blaming the electrical company when your light bulb burns out.
 
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cal6n

macrumors 68020
Jul 25, 2004
2,032
146
Gloucester, UK
Why would a software company defend the hardware manufactures? Thats like blaming the electrical company when your light bulb burns out.

But google won't even indemnify its hardware partners where it comes to their use of google's software.

And the situation is similar regarding their video codec.
 
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cal6n

macrumors 68020
Jul 25, 2004
2,032
146
Gloucester, UK
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; 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)

What other application stores have in app purchases? (Windows Marketplace, OVI Store, Blackberry Appworld etc)

I wonder if this will overspill onto even more places. Could the likes of PSN and Xbox Live be dragged in too? Would be interesting to see if they're willing to take on some big game developers in the console world too.

I'm not familiar with the other mainstream mobile stores but they, along with PSN and XBL, could likely use the same closed-ecosystem argument that Apple have put forward.

Apple's argument almost certainly does not apply to one group of developers, though, and that's the jailbreak crew. I doubt very much if Cydia has licensed their technology and Apple's walled garden argument would not apply there, even if they had.
 
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kiljoy616

macrumors 68000
Apr 17, 2008
1,795
0
USA
No wonder big companies are patenting even the Air that flows throught their products this stuff is now officially one broken system. :mad:
 
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KnightWRX

macrumors Pentium
Jan 28, 2009
15,046
4
Quebec, Canada
Maybe not. Part of Apple's legal argument is that their developers are covered due to the curated (google would say "closed") nature of the ecosystem. Here's a quote from Apple's response:

"These licensed products and services enable Apple’s App Makers to communicate with end users through the use of Apple’s own licensed hardware, software, APIs, memory, servers, and interfaces, including Apple’s App Store."

Android's "open" nature means that developers are not obliged to use google's channels and users are able to download apps from anywhere and install them via their SD cards. This is a very different legal situation and I can't see Apple's argument applying to android.

The patent is not about downloading and installing apps though. As long as developers only use Google's In-App Billing and go through the Market, they would be as covered as iOS developers IF the license Google and Apple does have does indeed cover these frameworks.

In-App billing requires use of the market.
 
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brettryan

macrumors member
May 6, 2009
39
0
This is becoming beyond the joke, are they going to target Firefox for allowing web applications to have "shopping carts" they could stretch the truth to believe that this is "in app" since it's "in the browser"

At first this story was a nuisance, but now it's getting me a little more than annoyed. As a fellow developer I can understand the pain that these small independent developers are facing.

The whole patent model is getting old, I'm sick of hearing about companies taking each other to court.
 
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gnasher729

Suspended
Nov 25, 2005
17,980
5,552
Buy the company, fire all the employees, put the patents into the public domain.

Just out of spite.

There is nothing that the owners of Lodsys would love more. Money is all they are after, and employees just cost them money.


Apple's argument almost certainly does not apply to one group of developers, though, and that's the jailbreak crew. I doubt very much if Cydia has licensed their technology and Apple's walled garden argument would not apply there, even if they had.

Does Cydia implement Lodsys' patents? Can you do in-app purchases that talk to Cydia servers? If so, they might be infringing on this patent. However, suing Cydia would be an admission by Lodsys that Apple's arguments are right, that only Apple (and Google, and perhaps Cydia) need a patent license, and not the individual developers. So Lodsys might be very hesitant to go against Cydia.
 
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0815

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2010
1,775
995
here and there but not over there
Lets hope Google does also the right thing and steps in.

This is assuming that the Android developers are using a Google/Android provided API and the Google servers for implementation - if they did their own mechanism they would be unfortunately on their own since that wouldn't be covered by the Google license.

Would be nice if for once Google and Apple would join forces, work together, and crush this patent troll.

Does Cydia implement Lodsys' patents? Can you do in-app purchases that talk to Cydia servers? If so, they might be infringing on this patent. However, suing Cydia would be an admission by Lodsys that Apple's arguments are right, that only Apple (and Google, and perhaps Cydia) need a patent license, and not the individual developers. So Lodsys might be very hesitant to go against Cydia.

This might be a nice backup strategy for Lodsys if it turns out that they can't go after Apple developers that use the 'official' API ... . Once there cases against Apple developers is denied by courts they can go after Cydia developers.
 
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