updated 02:30 pm EDT, Tue May 17, 2011
Developers passing along claims in bid for help
Apple's legal department is "actively investigating" patent claims made against iOS developers by Lodsys, says The Guardian. The UK newspaper notes that "about a dozen" developers have been served with papers so far. At least some of the companies have reportedly passed along Lodsys' complaints to Apple. The latter should respond to the issue later this week, the Guardian writes.
Lodsys insists that through offering in-app purchases, some iOS developers are violating a US patent it bought, 10/732,102. The company is demanding 0.575 percent of related revenue, which while seemingly a tiny amount could deter smaller developers and pull in large amounts of cash from the app industry as a whole. In explaining the targeting of developers rather than Apple itself, Lodsys has argued that while Apple may be licensed, its "pixie dust" doesn't protect third parties.
iOS developers are not the only the groups facing legal action. Lodsys is also suing large electronics firms such as Samsung, Brother, HP and Motorola Mobility. Apple may be forced to become a direct participant, as the appeal of iOS devices is highly dependent on access to a big app ecosystem.