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Lodsys sues 7 iOS, Android and Mac developers, but proffers $1,000 apiece if wrong

Lodsys sues 7 iOS, Android and Mac developers, but proffers $1,000 apiece if wrong
Making good on its earlier threat, Lodsys has begun legal proceedings against seven iOS developers, suing them for violating its patents when employing in-app purchase (IAP) systems.

Lodsys had previously sought license fees from several studios across both iOS and Android, requesting they pay 0.575 percent of all IAP revenue from the date the letters were sent to the expiration of the patent, plus "applicable past usage".

Any failure to reach agreement, it claimed, would result in the commencement of the action being taken today.

Double trouble

Lodsys believes two of its patents have been impinged on by the developers in question.; one directly relating to IAPs, the other to do with the process of collection data from users and then applying said data to further interactions with that user.

According to Foss Patents, the developers in the dock are Mega Poker Online Texas Holdem studio Combay, Twitterrific developer Iconfactory, Labyrinth's Illusion Labs, 69 Positions developer Shovelmate, Quickoffice, Hearts and Daggers developer Richard Shinderman and Shadow Era studio Wulven Games.

It had been hoped that a letter from Apple claiming its own patent license covered developers in the iOS ecosystem like an umbrella might warn Lodsys off.

In the letter, Apple said it was "fully prepared to defend its license rights" and that there was "no basis for Lodsys' infringement allegations".

A matter of fact

However, Lodsys has responded directly to Apple's stance, stating in a post on the firm's blog that the company's "claim of infallibility has no discernable basis in law or fact".

Lodsys said it was surprised by the letter, given it claims it has been in "confidential discussions" with Apple throughout.

"Apple appeared to give the developer community what they wanted," Lodsys stated.

"Developers relying on Apple's letter do so to their own detriment and are strongly urged to review Apple's own developer agreements to determine the true extent of Apple's responsibilities to them."

Final offer

In a rather bizarre move, however, Lodsys has pledged to pay out $1,000 to every studio should it be proved wrong.

"Lodsys offers to pay $1,000 to each entity to whom we have sent an infringement notice for infringement on the iOS platform, or that we send a notice to in the future, if it turns out that the scope of Apple's existing license rights apply to fully license you with respect to our claim relating to your app on Apple iOS," the company added on its blog.

Whether a gesture of goodwill, or a sign of its belief in its legal claim, Lodsys states it is aware that the nature of it lawsuits is contentious, given the small size of many of the companies it has contacted to date.

"The press and the blogs seem focused on the specific instances of small developers, who are only on Apple iOS, so those particular developers will be especially well served by our offer."

Attention will now turn to Apple to see if the company counters Lodsys' action in any regard.

With Illusion Labs' Labyrinth for Android also wrapped up in the challenge, Google may also feel moved to offer some form of response.

[source: Lodsys]
Contributing Editor

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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