Friday, May 13, 2011

Small iOS Developers Targeted Over In-App Purchase Patents

Adam C. Engst:

So what it comes down to is that Thomson, McCarron, and other iOS developers are being threatened by Lodsys for using Apple intellectual property under license from Apple, in such a fashion that they cannot even settle without violating the iOS Developer Program License Agreement. They can’t legally agree that Apple’s In App Purchase API violates Lodsys’s patents, and no matter what, there’s no way Apple would give permission for such a settlement due to the chilling effect it would have on iOS development in general.

Update (2011-05-17): Mike Lee:

If using a platform-provided API is not free from the odious weight of software patents, then software development as a cottage industry is no longer practicable. Make no mistake, Lodsys demonstrates that software patents threaten our very way of life.

Florian Mueller:

Lodsys’s position is that Apple’s license does not cover what the targeted app devs do. I have looked at the patent and I guess that the alleged infringement really relates to the commands executed by the apps themselves. I don’t know whether implementing Apple’s API inevitably leads to what the alleged infringement is about. My feeling is it’s probably not inevitable: I guess there are ways to make use of Apple’s in-app purchase API that don’t result in the fact pattern that Lodsys claims to be an infringement.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

Maybe I'm incorrect here, but I'm guessing that Lodsys is already getting its percentage of Apple's 30% when you do In-App on a 3rd party iOS app.

The dispute here is that no one is paying Lodsys its percentage of the remaining 70%, no?

If my reading is correct, Lodsys is doing some targeted legal filings to force Apple to pick up the full 100% of Lodsys' percentage out of Apple's 30% end of 3rd party In-App purchases...

@Chucky We don’t know what Apple’s agreement with Lodsys is, but your hypothesis seems unlikely to me. If that’s what Apple has been doing, they would have known all along that they were setting themselves and their developers up for the current situation. I believe that Apple would have thought they had everything under control before opening the IAP APIs.

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