Apple asks Lodsys to rescind legal threats against iOS developers

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 62
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Your serve Lodsys.
  • Reply 3 of 62
    min_tmin_t Posts: 74member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 62
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Read the full text here of the letter:



    http://www.macworld.com/article/1600...tter_text.html
  • Reply 5 of 62
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,502member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 62
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    Your serve Lodsys.



    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.
  • Reply 7 of 62
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,349member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 62
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    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.



    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.
  • Reply 9 of 62
    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.



    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.)
  • Reply 10 of 62
    tommcintommcin Posts: 108member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 62
    ahrubikahrubik Posts: 80member
    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).



  • Reply 12 of 62
    jpcgjpcg Posts: 114member
    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...
  • Reply 13 of 62
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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 wouldn?t 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?
  • Reply 14 of 62
    rokradrokrad Posts: 143member
    Boom HEADSHOT!
  • Reply 15 of 62
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,491member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 62
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,491member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 62
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,491member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    But wouldn?t 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.
  • Reply 18 of 62
    prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 62
    8corewhore8corewhore Posts: 833member
    Take that you lod of sys.
  • Reply 20 of 62
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    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!

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