Originally Posted by djsherly
But what does this all mean *legally*?
Those are both legal terms. Linkage basically means that the demands on the developers are linked to Apple's providing the software, and the means to use it (the SDK, and the App Store). As Apple has licensed software, or methodology from Lodsys for the purpose of enabling in-app purchasing, Apple is linked to the suits, if any against their developers.
As an interested party, from the above, and also from the fact that Apple's business would be damaged if developers have to raise their prices, go out of business, or drop in-app purchasing, they have standing.
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.
This isn't true. Any party that will be affected by a case can come in as an interested party. This is done all the time.
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.
You're right, we don't know anything other than what Apple has stated. The case, if any, would depend on whether the court decides that Apple is correct, or Lodsys. Being that Apple is so adamant about it, and that they took 10 days to reply, it would indicate that they're sure they're correct.
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.
A mechanism is a mechanical, or even an electronic device. What this is all about is not about a mechanism, but rather a software related methodology that utilizes Apple's own software and API's to accomplish a software related task. It could be patents that are called "process". Those can be either for "real" procedures, such as chemical processes, or mechanical processes, used in manufacturing, etc.
Whatever they are, Apple has made it clear that they require Apple's own software to work. That raises an interesting question. How dependent on Apple's software and API's is it?