updated 12:40 pm EDT, Wed June 8, 2011
May affect prospects for app developers
A Michigan company, ForeSee Results, has submitted a declaratory judgment lawsuit which could potentially render four Lodsys patents invalid. The latter outfit has sent letters to a number of technology companies, asserting a need for patent licenses. Lodsys made headlines recently by suing some mobile app developers over in-app purchases. ForeSee has not been sued, but is rather taking preemptive action on behalf of clients which have received assertion letters.
Three cited examples of ForeSee clients include Adidas, Best Buy and WE Energies. The new lawsuit was notably filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; this is "because Lodsys' Chief Executive Officer and sole employee resides in, and conducts business from, this Judicial District," according to ForeSee court documents. Lodsys is formally headquarted in eastern Texas, but this may only be to take advantage of the region's infamous pro-complainant court stance in patent infringement cases.
By suing in Illinois, ForeSee may be available to avoid having any cases against its clients decided in Texas. For any Lodsys suit filed in Texas ForeSee could simply request a transfer to Illinois, and likely win the ruling as a result of being first to file.
A ForeSee victory may have to be fast to help app developers. The District Court for the Eastern District of Texas operates relatively quickly, and some developers may not have the money to defend against Lodsys, regardless of whether or not arguments are valid. Apple and Google -- whose iOS and Android platforms are central to the dispute -- have yet to provide legal or financial help to defendants, even though in-app purchases may be covered by their legal arrangements.
[via Florian Mueller]