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Tag - Lodsys
An east Texas judge, Rodney Gilstrap, has issued a ruling blocking Apple from intervening on behalf of iOS app developers pursued by Lodsys, reports say. The order, handed down last Tuesday, also allows Lodsys to settle individually with each of the developers it has been leveling patent claims against. Apple has been seeking to intervene on behalf of developers for two years, arguing that it since it licensed patents (now owned by Lodsys) from Intellectual Ventures for in-app purchases, third-party developers are already protected.
Patent holding firm Lodsys has agreed to mutual charitable donations as settlement in its case against TMSOFT, a developer of various Mac and iOS apps. The person behind TMSOFT, Todd Moore, described the case as a "frivolous lawsuit" and notes that the case has been dismissed "with prejudice," preventing Lodsys from suing him again. He adds that he wasn't forced to sign a confidentiality agreement, but that he also isn't allowed to sue Lodsys, which could've been used to have courts rule the company's patents invalid.
Patent holder Lodsys had added Disney to the list of companies it is pursuing with lawsuits over in-app purchases, reports say. In a new court filing, Where's My Water? and other unspecified Disney apps are said to violate Lodsys' '565 and '078 US patents. "Prior to filing this complaint, Lodsys informed Disney of the patents-in-suit and offered to enter into a licensing arrangement that would allow Disney to continue practicing the inventions claimed in patents-in-suit," the filing continues. "Disney, however, chose not to enter into a licensing agreement. Instead, with knowledge of the patents-in-suit and disregard for Lodsys' patent rights, Disney chose to continue its infringement."
The otherwise-stagnant Lodsys lawsuit has shown signs of life after six months of inactivity. According to a blog post on the Lodsys website, during the inter-parties reexamination requested by Google, the United States Patent Trade Office has confirmed the non-practicing entity's patent as valid after on in-app purchases and free-to-paid application upgrades.
Courts have finally allowed Apple to involve itself in an ongoing lawsuit filed by Lodsys against a number of app developers. Apple in June filed a motion to intervene, however the request was met by opposition from Lodsys and further stalled as the case was swapped to Judge Rodney Gilstrap.
Apple is hoping to corner the app market with a USPTO patent filing published Thursday. A submission for "In Application Purchasing" appears to cover the basics of what most app stores use today, letting users buy content from within an app from an outside content store as though it were from within the app. Some variants can put up an overlay to bring up the purchase, and the app itself could be an HTML5 web app, not just native.
Lodsys has widened the scope of its patent trolling to include BlackBerry developers, new accounts revealed late Wednesday. At least Lonely Turret developer Rotten Ogre has been targeted for selling apps in the US with in-app purchases. It hasn't been sued but has faced Lodsys' common strategy, where it offers a licensing deal knowing that the developer can't afford to challenge the legitimacy of the patents in question, the Globe and Mail said.
Lodsys showed potential strain in its lawsuit after it issued a sur-reply to Apple's own response. Originally submitted earlier in the month but just discovered Monday, the response makes the questionable claim that Apple can't motion because some of the app developers sued challenge the validity of the patents. Similarly, it contends that the license it has with Apple doesn't make it a licensor and makes generic claims towards Apple having not somehow satisfied a "heavy burden."
Google has at last taken steps to try and protect Android developers from the wide-ranging Lodsys lawsuit, the company's general counsel Kent Walker stated Saturday. The company has asked the USPTO to reexamine the validity of two patents for in-app purchases that "should never have been issued," according to Walker. The approach described to Wired would either narrow the scope of the complaints or invalidate the patents entirely, likely forcing Lodsys to either limit the reach of lawsuits or toss them out entirely.
Four major parties defending themselves against Lodsys' legal accusations are actively petitioning the court to accept Apple's intervention request. Game publishers Atari, Electronic Arts and Square-Enix were joined by Quickoffice in sending a letter to the court yesterday, urging it to grant Apple's motion. All four companies are being represented in the matter by the same lawfirm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The first three have yet to even be served their summons however, and state that they are stepping in early to "ensure that their voices are heard in connection with the pending motion to intervene."