Apple granted motion to intervene in Lodsys patent dispute

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


Ten months after filing for the motion, Apple has finally been granted the power to intervene on behalf of numerous iOS developers that have been hit with a slew of patent suits by Lodsys.



Although the scope in which Apple can operate is limited to patent exhaustion and licensing, Thursday's ruling allows the Cupertino, Calif., company some space to aid software makers being sued by the non-practicing entity Lodsys, reports FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller.



In May 2011, Lodsys leveled a number of legal threats against iOS developers
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/05/16/lodsys_explains_its_legal_threats_apple_is_licensed_ios_developers_are_not.html" target="_blank">claiming
patent infringement because their respective programs took advantage of a certain in-app purchasing patent held by the so-called patent troll. Apple responded by sending a formal letter to Lodsys asking the company to halt any future proceedings, but the request fell on deaf ears and a suit was filed on May 31.



According to its website, Lodsys Group, LLC is a Marshall, Texas-based patent holdings company that apparently owns only four U.S. patents by inventor Dan Abelow. The company purchased the patent rights it is using in this specific case from Intellectual Ventures, another non-practicing entity that originally bought the rights from Abelow.



In what is called patent exhaustion, Apple argues that because it licensed the patent as operator of the App Store, its developers are likewise licensed by extension. To that effect, the iPhone maker filed a motion to intervene in June 2011, later defending the move against Lodsys' objections.



It was expected that Apple would be granted intervention rights quickly, though the ruling never came and the motion sat in court for months. Further confounding the situation was the resignation of the case's presiding judge.



While Apple was waiting for a decision, Lodsys went forward with additional suits, extending its case to include large app makers like Angry Birds creator Rovio.











With Thursday's ruling, Apple will finally be able to put its considerable legal weight behind the developers involved in the suit, with Judge Rodney Gilstrap granting the company "permissive intervention" or one that is under the court's purview.



From the summary submitted to public record:

Quote:

"SEALED MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER - Apple has satisfied each of the four requirements for intervention as a matter of right under Rule 24(a)(2). The Court finds that permissive intervention is also appropriate under Rule 24(b). To avoid any potential prejudice to Lodsys rights under the License Agreement such intervention shall be and is hereby limited to the issues of license and patent exhaustion. Apples Motion to Intervene is GRANTED-IN-PART to the extent and as specified herein. Motions terminated: [4] MOTION to Intervene filed by Apple, Inc.. Signed by Judge Rodney Gilstrap on 4/12/12. (ehs, ) Modified on 4/12/2012 (ch, )."



It remains to be seen what Apple will invest in the case, but some smaller developers have already settled out of court presumably due to the high financial costs associated with a prolonged court battle.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

Comments

  • tundrabuggytundrabuggy Posts: 131member
    Awesome!!! Apple, bury these guys and protect your developers from this low-life company called Lodsys!

    If Apple can invalidate the patents, Lodsys will be forced to reimburse the smaller companies that were forced to settle.
  • sflocalsflocal Posts: 3,545member
    This is akin to Lodsys being holed-up in a building shooting at everyone unbeknownst to them the troops just got Apple to drop a daisy cutter bomb to not only obliterate them, but obliterate them for the next few reincarnations.



    This is serious popcorn-eating action now.
  • musiccomposermusiccomposer Posts: 49member
    I'm glad Apple can step in to help these developers. Lodsys just wants to make more money, sure we all do, but in a real iffy way. It's in Apple's best interest to keep the devs happy though so they can continue to make great or not so great software.
  • sflocalsflocal Posts: 3,545member
    *deleted* duplicate post
  • sflocalsflocal Posts: 3,545member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MusicComposer View Post


    I'm glad Apple can step in to help these developers. Lodsys just wants to make more money, sure we all do, but in a real iffy way. It's in Apple's best interest to keep the devs happy though so they can continue to make great or not so great software.



    Absolutely. It's like Intel trying to extract more money for using a computer with an Intel chip inside it. Absolute extortion. I hope Lodsys gets the hammer.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,322member
    It should be noted that Google hasn't been sitting on the sidelines either. They're working on having the patents themselves invalidated, filing for a patent office re-examination this past August. I believe another of the parties involved is also working to have the patents at least narrowed in their scope if not invalidated altogether.
  • ktappektappe Posts: 679member
    Quote:

    some smaller developers have already settled out of court presumably due to the high financial costs



    And that's why it's a real pity the courts could not move faster on this. The wronged parties were being continuously injured while the offender was making off with their $. I really hope the settlements can be nullified.
  • tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    It should be noted that Google hasn't been sitting on the sidelines either. They're working on having the patents themselves invalidated, filing for a patent office re-examination this past August. I believe another of the parties involved is also working to have the patents at least narrowed in their scope if not invalidated altogether.







    True, but Apple doesn't want the patent invalidated. If Apple holds a validate license, it better serves Apple's interest to merely have the license upheld. This will protect iOS developers, but put additional hurt on Android because Google does not have a license.
  • brutus009brutus009 Posts: 356member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tundraBuggy View Post


    If Apple can invalidate the patents, Lodsys will be forced to reimburse the smaller companies that were forced to settle.



    Is this a fact? What if (and more likely) Apple simply proves patent exhaustion? Will those that already settled be reimbursed?



    I might think that those companies would have to take legal action to recoup their losses unless this case is, in fact, somehow retroactive for all settlements outside of court.
  • gtrgtr Posts: 3,211member
    Ah!



    The Toruk is finally allowed to enter the banshee fight!
  • gtrgtr Posts: 3,211member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    It should be noted that Google hasn't been sitting on the sidelines either. They're working on having the patents themselves invalidated, filing for a patent office re-examination this past August. I believe another of the parties involved is also working to have the patents at least narrowed in their scope if not invalidated altogether.



    Actually, that's a good point, which brings up a technical question that I had:



    Who gives a flying fuck?
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,322member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    True, but Apple doesn't want the patent invalidated. If Apple holds a validate license, it better serves Apple's interest to merely have the license upheld. This will protect iOS developers, but put additional hurt on Android because Google does not have a license.



    According to Lodsys Google has the same license as Apple and the same limitations on it applying to the developers
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,322member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GTR View Post


    Actually, that's a good point, which brings up a technical question that I had:



    Who gives a flying fuck?



    Those who are being attacked with those patents? That was a dumb question.
  • bullheadbullhead Posts: 492member
    Guess what Lodsys....you are now in deep doo-doo
  • shaminoshamino Posts: 361member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tundraBuggy View Post


    If Apple can invalidate the patents, Lodsys will be forced to reimburse the smaller companies that were forced to settle.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post


    Is this a fact? What if (and more likely) Apple simply proves patent exhaustion? Will those that already settled be reimbursed?



    The judge could order reimbursement, but I think it is more likely that those parties would have to sue to get back what they paid.



    On the other hand, such a suit, after Lodsys loses the big suit, should be relatively simple to win. Collecting, on the other hand, may be impossible. I'm sure they money has already been spent or moved to some off-shore account.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,322member
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,322member


    For anyone still interested, here's Apple's answer to the IP infringment complaint, along with Lodsys answer. In effect (according to Groklaw) Apple says "we're licensed", Lodsys says "no you're not".


     


    http://www.groklaw.net/pdf3/LodsysvCombay-107.pdf


    http://www.groklaw.net/pdf3/LodsysvCombay-113.pdf

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