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Lodsys uses some in-app patents to sue Best Buy, Sam's Club

updated 02:20 pm EDT, Sat June 11, 2011

Lodsys expands patent suits to hit Best Buy, more

Lodsys tested its limits on Friday by expanding its lawsuits beyond app developers. A new complaint serving as a preemptive strike against possible patent invalidation has targeted 10 companies, including Adidas, Best Buy, CVS, Sam's Club, and others, accuses them of violating two patents mentioned in Lodsys' campaign to sue iOS app developers for in-app purchases. All but Sam's Club were sued for allegedly copying one patent by having surveys on their websites, while Sam's Club, Black & Decker, and Vitamin Shoppe were sued for just using "feedback soliciting FAQs" or live help chat.

The lawsuit likely hinged on the concept of "first to file," which sets precedent for who believes they were the wronged party and determines who can control the proceedings of the case. ForeSee, which motioned for the declaratory judgment to invalidate Lodsys' main patents, will now likely have to persuade the Eastern District of Texas court to move parts or more of the case to its preferred Chicago courthouse. ForeSee provides online surveys to Adidas, Best Buy, and others, and would not only be affected by Lodsys' new suit but by virtually anyone else it serves.

Apple and iOS developers may be affected by ForeSee's moves, since it may influence where any of Lodsys' own complaints will go and which verdicts will work in its favor.

Broad patent claims aren't uncommon among non-contributing patent owners, but its scale from large to small companies is somewhat unusual. Lodsys tried suing HP, Motorola, Samsung, and seven other companies in February before targeting app developers and its new complaint. The firm paid for control of the patents and is likely determined to get as much return on the investment as possible. [via Florian Mueller]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969



    These guys are either supremely confident or incredibly full of themselves. I only hope it blows up in their faces, although if they're lawyers (which they no doubt are), it's not really costing them anything but their time to sue everyone and their uncle.

    I have to say, this is about as big of an example of how broken US patent law is as any I've ever seen. If they win in whatever Texas court loves these lawsuits and it turns out you need to license a patent to run a survey on your website, I'm moving to another country.

  1. ricardogf

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's notorious that the US patent system is, BY FAR, the worst in the civilized world when connected with a hilarious judicial system that presents no filtering at all of frivolous lawsuits. Moreover, the USPTO is famously understaffed and incompetent to check anything of value when a patent is filed with them.

    But despite a sad trend in the opposite direction, it's still true that most Western countries (including the major part of Europe plus countries like Brazil) do NOT accept any stupid software claim as a patent. Lodsys's case is just one among many that demonstrate how pathetic the IPR situation in the US is nowadays...

    Let's just hope these trolls die under the onslaught of bigger companies; it's infuriating to see this continue.

  1. philomath777

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Lodsys is giving a whole new...

    ...definition for the words "arrogant" and "bloodsucker." I could think of a few more but will stop with that...

  1. chas_m



    Bright side

    This nonsense may actually finally force the debate over modernizing and updating patent law into the spotlight, which would probably be a good thing. It's abuse of the system like this that usually brings about reform.

  1. eclux

    Joined: Dec 1969


    surveys? really?

    If they are suing anyone who employs surveys on the web, I guess facebook and every member who creates a survey of their friends is next.

    That will be...
    O interesting
    O hysterical
    O terrifying
    O secretly satisfying

  1. mgehman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ring a bell

    Does SCO vs. IBM ring a bell. These bozos always end up getting their butts handed to them in the end. It just is the end takes sooooo long. It is like watching a car wreck in slow motion

  1. cwsmith

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Patent trolls. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  1. darkelf

    Joined: Dec 1969


    and their biggest patent is on...


  1. facebook_Paul

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2011


    Yes, and...

    Yes, the patent laws must be changed, AND there should be criminal charges that go with something like "intentionally frivolous" (or something more latin sounding). If the Lodsys perpetrators knew there was a good chance that it wasn't just time and some money at risk, but perhaps their freedom, this trolling might slow. I'm hardly a fan of "big business," however, these companies employ thousands of Americans, and if they have to devote resources to fighting this nonsense, that's a few more people who may not get jobs or at least cost of living raises and that's criminal.

  1. MorituriMax

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I really hope these trolls end up paying the court costs for all these "lawsuits" they are bringing. What I really wish is that Apple gets involved directly in the defenses of the people being sued, and drags this s*** out for years.

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