iOS developers hit with threat of lawsuit for using Apple's in-app purchase system

Unknown targeting studios over patent infringement

iOS developers hit with threat of lawsuit for using Apple's in-app purchase system
Who owns the in-app purchase? 

No doubt, most people would argue 'no one', but two developes are claiming to have been hit by potential patent infringement lawsuits for implementing Apple's in-app purchase system in iOS releases.

As reported by Cult of Mac, James Thomson of TLA Systems – the studio behind the PCalc scientific calculator app – has received legal documents threatening a patent infringement lawsuit for ultilising IAPs in his release.

Though Thomson is unwilling to name just who is behind the challenge, it's believed the suitor-to-be is claiming ownership over the entire IAP business.

Avoiding the big Apple

"Just got hit by very worrying threat of patent infringement lawsuit for using in-app purchase in PCalc Lite. Legal docs arrived via fedex," Thomson said in a tweet.

"No idea what to do…They seem to be effectively claiming the rights to in-app purchase, but going after me, not Apple."

So far, only Patrick McCarron of MobileAge has reported being hit by a similar document, but it's the decision to target individual studios rather than Apple itself that suggests things could get rather messy.

"As far as I can tell this is not PCalc specific in any form," added Thomson wrote.

"It doesn't seem to be in any way app-specific."

Money matters

Thomson claims he's already in contact with Apple regarding how best to tackle the issue, though he admits going to court would be an especially painful process financially.

"A decent IP lawyer will burn all the profits from PCalc in-app purchasing in one day," adds Thomson.

That could be, of course, exactly the response the source of the challenge is looking for.

By taking on smaller studios rather than Apple itself, he or she could well be hoping that developers opt to pay a licensing fee for IAPs, rather than bearing the costs that would inevitably mount from any form of legal defense.

[source: CultofMac]

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