updated 03:30 pm EDT, Mon May 23, 2011
Says developers under umbrella protection
Following up on its investigations, Apple has sent a letter to Lodsys asking that the company stop demanding patent licenses from iOS developers. Lodsys has claimed that by supporting in-app purchases, developers are in violation of patents it owns. In a series of blog posts, the firm further charged that while Apple is licensed for in-app purchase technology, its "pixie dust" does not extend to developers.
"Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patents and the Apple App Makers are protected by that license," reads part of Apple's letter, drafted by general counsel Bruce Sewell. "There is no basis for Lodsys' infringement allegations against Apple's App Makers. Apple intends to share this letter and the information set out herein with its App Makers and is fully prepared to defend Apple's license rights."
Sewell asks that Lodsys "cease and desist from any further threats to Apple's customers and partners," and asserts that Apple's license to "all four of the patents in the Lodsys portfolio" allows it to offer the products and services to customers and business partners. The counsel moreover claims that Lodsys' actions are based on a "fundamental misapprehension" of Apple's license and products, especially as the allegedly infringing purchase systems rely on Apple APIs, SDKs and and other technology.
The letter concludes with a request that Lodsys "immediately withdraw all notice letters sent to Apple App Makers and cease its false assertions that the App Makers' use of licensed Apple products and services in any way constitute infringement of any Lodsys patent." Lodsys has yet to make a public response. The company may find it itself in a difficult situation though, as it has publicly stated an unwillingness to pursue Apple itself.