or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Apple asks Lodsys to rescind legal threats against iOS developers
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple asks Lodsys to rescind legal threats against iOS developers

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
Apple on Monday sent a formal letter to Lodsys in which it asked the patent holder to cease legal threats against iOS developers who utilize in-app purchases.

The letter represents Apple's first official action on the situation, and was sent Monday, according to Jim Dalrymple of The Loop.

"Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patents and the App Makers are protected by that license," Bruce Sewell, Apple's senior vice president and general counsel, wrote in the letter to Lodsys.

The letter shows that Apple believes its licensing agreements with Lodsys extend to the members of its iOS development community. Lodsys has argued that while Apple is licensed, its developers are not covered by the existing agreements.

"Thus the technology that is targeted in your notice letters is technology that Apple is expressly licensed under the Lodsys patents to offer Apple's App Makers," Sewell wrote. "These licensed products and services enable Apple's App Makers to communicate with end users through the use of Apple's own licensed hardware, software, APIs, memory, servers, and interfaces, including Apple's App Store.

"Because Apple is licensed under Lodsys' patents to offer such technology to its App Makers, the App Makers are entitled to use this technology free from any infringement claims by Lodsys."



Lodsys' patent threats stem from Apple's in-app purchasing feature available for software on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Earlier this month, Lodsys sent letters to a number of iOS developers, accusing them of patent infringement related to in-app purchasing technology.

The patent holder seeks 0.575 percent of U.S. revenue from developers over the period of the notice letter sent earlier this month to the expiration of the patent, plus applicable usage. The company noted that would amount to $5,750 per year for an application that makes $1 million in annual sales.

The letters sent out earlier this month gave developers 21 days to license technology related to in-app purchases. Last week it was said that Apple was "actively investigating" the complaints from Lodsys, but Monday's letter is the first formal action from Apple.

Last Friday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation called on Apple to defend its iOS developers from potential patent lawsuits. Though Lodsys has threatened developers, it has not yet filed any legal action.
post #2 of 63
Im really glad they are indeed getting behind there developers in this mess. IMO lodsys and other companies like them will second guess pulling a stunt like this.
post #3 of 63
Your serve Lodsys.
post #4 of 63
It appears that apple covered all aspects of possible use when it licensed the technology. Wonder how many pages of research the law interns had to peruse to find the relevant clauses applying to the use of this set of patent portfolio's being trolled by this patent parasite.
After 3 netbooks from acer, toshiba, hp, I find contentment in my 11.6 MB Air. Hoping the 8-hr battery version shows up soon.
Reply
After 3 netbooks from acer, toshiba, hp, I find contentment in my 11.6 MB Air. Hoping the 8-hr battery version shows up soon.
Reply
post #5 of 63
Read the full text here of the letter:

http://www.macworld.com/article/1600...tter_text.html
post #6 of 63
There was no question that Apple would step up to the plate to defend the developers from lowlifes like Lodsys. Vermin like Lodsys will regret pulling a stunt like this if they even remotely get a glimmer in their eye that they can take on Apple.
post #7 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Your serve Lodsys.

Id think Lodsys would have throughly considered Apples response and needed protection of developers in this matter so Ill be surprised if they simply back down. Surely they thought at least one move ahead in this legal chess game.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #8 of 63
Hopefully (although not likely) we'll see an end to in-app purchases.
Most of the time it just seems to be used in "free" games so you can buy some sort of token/weapon/clue/item to make the game even slightly playable. It all seems very underhanded and I'd rather just buy a game than be duped by this bait and switch.

Hopefully Apple will also add a 3rd column to the app store especially for in-app purchase games so people like myself can ignore them.
post #9 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Id think Lodsys would have throughly considered Apples response and needed protection of developers in this matter so Ill be surprised if they simply back down. Surely they thought at least one move ahead in this legal chess game.

Possibly, but you never know. LIke Lodsys said, they "believed" the license didn't cover the developers. To me, this shows that they weren't 100% sure but decided to give it a go.

It could be worse, they could be Psystar.
post #10 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Id think Lodsys would have throughly considered Apples response and needed protection of developers in this matter so Ill be surprised if they simply back down. Surely they thought at least one move ahead in this legal chess game.

I think the whole point was to wring a few dollars more from Apple. And I think they will get it. Apple will just pay them off - it makes good business sense. (Not terribly morally satisfying I suppose, but that's business.)
post #11 of 63
Now if the courts, where this will likely end up, will force the loser to pay the winner's legal costs, we could start seeing an end to this needless drain on everyone's - vendors and customers - resources. The money would much better be spent developing new products or decreasing the cost to customers. The lawyers would still get their share.

And yes, Lodsys should have thought out Apple's response, just as Apple will be thinking about how Lodsys will respond.
post #12 of 63
You know this isn't related to the article but I wonder if this provision protects modders and rooters? (not just the iPhone but all phones and consoles.)

Quote:
As the Supreme Court has made clear, “[t]he authorized sale of an article that substantially embodies a patent exhausts the patent holder’s rights and prevents the patent holder from invoking patent law to control postsale use of the article.” Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Elecs., Inc., 553 U.S. 617 (2008).

2011 13" Core i5 Macbook Pro | Intel 520 SSD | 8GB Corsair DDR3 1333 | OSX 10.7
iPhone 4S - AT&T

iPad 3 Wi-Fi

Reply

2011 13" Core i5 Macbook Pro | Intel 520 SSD | 8GB Corsair DDR3 1333 | OSX 10.7
iPhone 4S - AT&T

iPad 3 Wi-Fi

Reply
post #13 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by AHrubik View Post

You know this isn't related to the article but I wonder if this provision protects modders and rooters? (not just the iPhone but all phones and consoles.)

Well if you buy an iPhone you don't license Apple's patents. So no..

Edit: For clarification "article" in this context means patent license, not enduser product incorporating the license...
post #14 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpcg View Post

Well if you buy an iPhone you don't license Apple's patents. So no..

Edit: For clarification "article" in this context means patent license, not enduser product incorporating the license...

But wouldnt that Supreme Court ruling hold up for the developers (i.e.: customers) who purchased the SDK access from Apple who licensed the patents from Lodsys?
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #15 of 63
Boom HEADSHOT!
post #16 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post

I think the whole point was to wring a few dollars more from Apple. And I think they will get it. Apple will just pay them off - it makes good business sense. (Not terribly morally satisfying I suppose, but that's business.)

It actually wouldn't be good business sense for Apple to pay them more for this. That would mean that Apple is susceptible to blackmail. Then every company would attempt the same thing, and Apple is already embroiled in too many lawsuits.
post #17 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by AHrubik View Post

You know this isn't related to the article but I wonder if this provision protects modders and rooters? (not just the iPhone but all phones and consoles.)

It's part of the article, because it comes from Apple's response.

But no, this has nothing to do with modders and rooters. If anything, Apple's response, and the quote you provided from that specifically excludes modders and rooters, because they are working around Apple's software and API's. If you read Apple response carefully, you will understand that.

For example, if a rooter and modder aren't going throughout the App Store, and are offering in-app sales, they are not protected by Apple licenses. lodsys can still sue them.

But Apple can't sue them.
post #18 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

But wouldnt that Supreme Court ruling hold up for the developers (i.e.: customers) who purchased the SDK access from Apple who licensed the patents from Lodsys?

That's what Apple is saying - if their apps are sold through Apple's App Store.
post #19 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I’d think Lodsys would have throughly considered Apple’s response and needed protection of developers in this matter so I’ll be surprised if they simply back down. Surely they thought at least one move ahead in this legal chess game.

Agreed.

People are forgetting perhaps that Apple is not actually a party to any of the lawsuits, and the issue of who wins a lawsuit like this usually comes down to who has the money to argue it all the way. Justice goes only to those who can afford it in cases like this. Lodsys seems like a fairly small-fry, but the developers are even smaller.

If Lodsys simply plows forward with the cases anyway, Apple can't actually do anything about it because they aren't defendants. AFAICS their options are only to give money to the developers to defend themselves, or have themselves added to each case somehow.

If it was Lodsys versus Apple they would have to give up as Apple has far more money than they do, but until that happens, they may just keep plugging away. The individual developers don't have the money to fight this in court.
post #20 of 63
Take that you lod of sys.
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
post #21 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

If Lodsys simply plows forward with the cases anyway, Apple can't actually do anything about it because they aren't defendants. AFAICS their options are only to give money to the developers to defend themselves, or have themselves added to each case somehow.

Apple can certainly provide all the legal assistance they want to the developers... I'm pretty sure Apple has a warehouse close to the size of that shiny-new NC datacenter chockfull of hungry lawyers just needing a direction to be pointed in.

All they need to do is hear 4 words from Steve....

MAKE
THIS
GO
AWAY!
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
Reply
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
Reply
post #22 of 63
Even if Apple doesn't fully believe in it's position as stated in their letter, they are letting Mr. Small know that Apple itself has cause to get involved and this won't be easy pickings for Lodsys.

Lodsys does not want to tangle with Apple and their 100 billion dollar war chest for the next 10 years.

BAM!
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
post #23 of 63
Don't be surprised if Apple doesn't alter the way in which in-app purchases are made, and then tells Lodsys to eff off, see us in court. Don't piss off Jobs.
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
Reply
post #24 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Agreed.

People are forgetting perhaps that Apple is not actually a party to any of the lawsuits, and the issue of who wins a lawsuit like this usually comes down to who has the money to argue it all the way. Justice goes only to those who can afford it in cases like this. Lodsys seems like a fairly small-fry, but the developers are even smaller.

If Lodsys simply plows forward with the cases anyway, Apple can't actually do anything about it because they aren't defendants. AFAICS their options are only to give money to the developers to defend themselves, or have themselves added to each case somehow.

If it was Lodsys versus Apple they would have to give up as Apple has far more money than they do, but until that happens, they may just keep plugging away. The individual developers don't have the money to fight this in court.

That's not true. There is "linkage". And in addition, Apple is an "interested party".

Apple's claim is simple. They have licensed the software for use by their developers selling apps in their (Apple's) store, which uses the software, not the apps themselves. By threatening lawsuits against apple's developers, it can damage Apples business, and affect their customers.

Apple has plenty of standing here. And if Apple decides to sue them for possibly a breach of contract, they can do so.
post #25 of 63
Excerpt from Apple's letter:

Quote:
Through its threatened infringement claims against users of Apples licensed technology, Lodsys is invoking patent law to control the post-sale use of these licensed products and methods. Because Lodsyss threats are based on the purchase or use of Apple products and services licensed under the Agreement, and because those Apple products and services, under the reading articulated in your letters, entirely or substantially embody each of Lodsyss patents, Lodsyss threatened claims are barred by the doctrines of patent exhaustion and first sale. As the Supreme Court has made clear, [t]he authorized sale of an article that substantially embodies a patent exhausts the patent holders rights and prevents the patent holder from invoking patent law to control postsale use of the article. Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Elecs., Inc., 553 U.S. 617 (2008).

Therefore, Apple requests 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.
post #26 of 63
Just another example how Apple's so-called "walled garden" actually protects developers, specifically from patent license claims.

Any android developer who is not actually selling his apps through a licensed vendor may be susceptible to this liability that Lodsys is claiming and may get a letter in the mail soon.
post #27 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I’d think Lodsys would have throughly considered Apple’s response and needed protection of developers in this matter so I’ll be surprised if they simply back down. Surely they thought at least one move ahead in this legal chess game.

...not all lawyers are created equal. It remains to be played out whether the Lodsys legal team has the IP/patent chops to take on the retained services of the likes of Bruce Sewell, Elliot Peters, William Lee, Robert Krupka, and Matthew Powers, who are arguably the heavy-hitters for the Apple Legal team, having logged successful cases in IP/patent suits across the tech industry.

On the other hand, Lodsys may be doing this to generate settlements from the devs or to try and drive re-negotiation of Apple's license, having done a facepalm for licensing it directly to Apple, instead of the thousands of devs in the ecosystem. Either way, Apple technically needs their license to support in App purchases unless they have a non-infringing solution they can wave at Lodsys to say "yo, dudes yer harshin' our mellows here. Do ya wanna make some money or do ya wanna be dicks?"
If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
Reply
If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
Reply
post #28 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Hopefully (although not likely) we'll see an end to in-app purchases.
Most of the time it just seems to be used in "free" games so you can buy some sort of token/weapon/clue/item to make the game even slightly playable. It all seems very underhanded and I'd rather just buy a game than be duped by this bait and switch.

Hopefully Apple will also add a 3rd column to the app store especially for in-app purchase games so people like myself can ignore them.

do use the free apps with in-app purchasing required to make the game playable? I mean, right?? The market is robust enough to support all kinds of models for monetizing your game, you don't have to play the one you don't like...
If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
Reply
If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
Reply
post #29 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by fecklesstechguy View Post

Do ya wanna make some money or do ya wanna be dicks?

Lawyers excel at doing both.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #30 of 63
How ironic that Lodsys quotes Edison, one of the slimiest, ethically bankrupt minds in American History.
post #31 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Agreed.

People are forgetting perhaps that Apple is not actually a party to any of the lawsuits, and the issue of who wins a lawsuit like this usually comes down to who has the money to argue it all the way. Justice goes only to those who can afford it in cases like this. Lodsys seems like a fairly small-fry, but the developers are even smaller.

If Lodsys simply plows forward with the cases anyway, Apple can't actually do anything about it because they aren't defendants. AFAICS their options are only to give money to the developers to defend themselves, or have themselves added to each case somehow.

If it was Lodsys versus Apple they would have to give up as Apple has far more money than they do, but until that happens, they may just keep plugging away. The individual developers don't have the money to fight this in court.

Apple can do several things, most importantly, they can insist on participating as an interested party. In short as you mentioned, including themselves in each case legally.

If Apple were a little less involved, they could also file an "amicus" brief with the courts in support of the developers. But because they are directly involved, they lose that ability due to their "interest" as both licensee of Lonesys (yes - it was deliberate) and as operator of the platform under which the developers supply their product.

And finally Apple could with its war chest do a hostile takeover of Lodsys and simply buy and gut them. Upside - they get a bunch of IP and a troublesome flea off their backs. Downside - they set a precedent where any little IP troll company can step up and try to leverage the same deal by threatening the devs in the iOS stable.
If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
Reply
If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
Reply
post #32 of 63
It was probably cheaper to license these patents... but I wish Apple would challenge more of these. Maybe they thought they would never win in Marshall, TX though. Companies (if you call what is most likely one person a company) like lodsys are just leeching on poor government regulation in the form of the US Patent system. Lets hope for patent system reform. No software patents is better then abused software patents.
post #33 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

That's not true. There is "linkage". And in addition, Apple is an "interested party".

Apple's claim is simple. They have licensed the software for use by their developers selling apps in their (Apple's) store, which uses the software, not the apps themselves. By threatening lawsuits against apple's developers, it can damage Apples business, and affect their customers.

Apple has plenty of standing here. And if Apple decides to sue them for possibly a breach of contract, they can do so.

Exactly, Apple can always countersue Lodsys.
post #34 of 63
deleted
post #35 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

How ironic that Lodsys quotes Edison, one of the slimiest, ethically bankrupt minds in American History.

I was wondering if anyone else would notice that.
post #36 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

That's not true. There is "linkage". And in addition, Apple is an "interested party".

But what does this all mean *legally*?

Quote:
Apple's claim is simple. They have licensed the software for use by their developers selling apps in their (Apple's) store, which uses the software, not the apps themselves. By threatening lawsuits against apple's developers, it can damage Apples business, and affect their customers.

Apple has plenty of standing here. And if Apple decides to sue them for possibly a breach of contract, they can do so.

Apple would, I expect, have little legal standing in a dispute between lodsys and a developer. They may have an action under their own contract/licence with lodsys, but as far as I know one can't, as a third party, just butt into a legal stouch between third parties.

We simply don't know what it is Apple agreed under its licence to lodsys. It would seem silly that Apple would licence a patent without the ability to offer its fruit to developers, but who really knows? Oversights do happen, and if Apple entered boilerplate agreements with other patent holders, they might start lining up.

As far as the Court case cited by Apple, I haven't read the case but the snippet suggests to me that it would apply to an object, and iPhone, an engine, etc. What's not so clear from the snippet is how it applies to what is essentially a mechanism.

Again, not defending anyone here, but there is little to go on.
post #37 of 63
Don't make me come over there.
post #38 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Agreed.

People are forgetting perhaps that Apple is not actually a party to any of the lawsuits, and the issue of who wins a lawsuit like this usually comes down to who has the money to argue it all the way. Justice goes only to those who can afford it in cases like this. Lodsys seems like a fairly small-fry, but the developers are even smaller.

If Lodsys simply plows forward with the cases anyway, Apple can't actually do anything about it because they aren't defendants. AFAICS their options are only to give money to the developers to defend themselves, or have themselves added to each case somehow.

If it was Lodsys versus Apple they would have to give up as Apple has far more money than they do, but until that happens, they may just keep plugging away. The individual developers don't have the money to fight this in court.

(Non-lawyer talking): It seems to me that Apple most assuredly would have recourse. What they'd do is sue Lodsys for breach of contract. They wouldn't be party to those small suits. They'd bring their own. They've said very clearly that they're licensed to do exactly what they're doing and the devs are part of that. If Lodsys sues, Apple can sue back for breach.

Herein lies the threat:

"Thus, the technology that is targeted in your notice letters is technology that Apple is expressly licensed under the Lodsys patents to offer to Apples App Makers. These licensed products and services enable Apples App Makers to communicate with end users through the use of Apples own licensed hardware, software, APIs, memory, servers, and interfaces, including Apples App Store. Because Apple is licensed under Lodsys patents to offer such technology to its App Makers, the App Makers are entitled to use this technology free from any infringement claims by Lodsys."

Lodsys' CEO and its counsel may not understand what just got said, but this doctor sure did. And I have no doubt that Apple's general counsel is speaking with tremendous precision. Lodsys, be warned.
post #39 of 63
The license would be useless if it didn't cover Apple's developers.
post #40 of 63
Currently there are no lawsuits at all, so nobody is a party to anything yet. There are ways to bring Apple into the game. First, if Lodsys does sue a third party developer, Apple could respond by filing a separate against Lodsys for allegedly violating what Apple thinks its license covers. Apple could then ask for the suits to be merged into one. Second, the third party developer could bring Apple into a lawsuit by cross suing Apple claiming Apple has caused the developer harm or that Apple should indemnify it. Apple could then cross sue Lodsys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Agreed.

People are forgetting perhaps that Apple is not actually a party to any of the lawsuits, and the issue of who wins a lawsuit like this usually comes down to who has the money to argue it all the way. Justice goes only to those who can afford it in cases like this. Lodsys seems like a fairly small-fry, but the developers are even smaller.

If Lodsys simply plows forward with the cases anyway, Apple can't actually do anything about it because they aren't defendants. AFAICS their options are only to give money to the developers to defend themselves, or have themselves added to each case somehow.

If it was Lodsys versus Apple they would have to give up as Apple has far more money than they do, but until that happens, they may just keep plugging away. The individual developers don't have the money to fight this in court.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Apple asks Lodsys to rescind legal threats against iOS developers