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Lodsys Responds To In-App Purchasing Patent Controversy

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the defending-their-honor dept.

IOS 158

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, a heretofore unknown company named Lodsys sent FedEx packages to a number of independent iOS developers informing them that their use of in-app purchasing infringed on valid patents they owned. Now Lodsys has publicly responded to a number of issues/questions levied at them over the past few days."

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One question they did not answer (3, Insightful)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142454)

"So why do you think you should profit from something so painfully obvious? This is a natural extension of shareware so why is this unique?"

Re:One question they did not answer (3, Insightful)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142514)

Because they already paid the inventor for the patents. They purchased the cake, realized later that it's actually a shit sandwich, and now they need to make some money.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142666)

It's time to have the USPTO invalidate this shit sandwich so everyone can get on with innovating.

Re:One question they did not answer (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142712)

first you have to get rid of all the corrupt pawns that were put in place at the USPTO that rubber stamp everything in sight. Once you get competent and honest people in there 90% of all software patents will be invalidated.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142932)

Contrary to popular belief, they don't just "rubber stamp" things. At least according to a friend at the patent office, far more applications are rejected than accepted.

The problem is more like that the rules they are following re what makes a valid patent are different from your idea of what they ought to be.

Congress needs to fund the patent office to a level where they actually have enough experts in the office and to set reasonable rules for obviousness via legislation. If you're looking for corruption to blame, I'm sure you'll find plenty at the Congressional level.

Re:One question they did not answer (2)

Snarky McButtface (1542357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143222)

If they do not rubber stamp everything, how do you explain this [google.com] ?

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143344)

If they do not rubber stamp everything, how do you explain this [google.com] ?

Holy crap, did someone actually filled that one out just to prove the USPTO is full of it????? I cannot imagine someone actually going through the trouble of filling such a ridiculous patent claim.

Re:One question they did not answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36143246)

If that's what you think will solve the issue, then the first thing you need to do is make patent examiners among the highest paid professionals in the nation.

You're looking for people not only technically competent enough in at LEAST one given field to evaluate the technical merits and obviousness of particular patents, but legally savvy enough to evaluate the patent applications themselves and navigate the legal mumbo-jumbo of both the patents and the related laws passed by Congress and judicial rulings and precedents that may affect their work. They're not quite lawyers and they're not quite computer scientists (or engineers or doctors or whatever is an appropriate profession to evaluate a given patent), but they're close and they're both. How much do you figure these people could make working in the private sector? And why do you believe that they're going to give that up to earn a $41,969 starting salary working for the federal government?

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142842)

Indeed, it is important to note that the "inventor" of this patent will receive zilch and the current rightsholder isn't producing anything of value with it, just makework for legal assistants.

Is this how patents are supposed to work?

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142972)

The inventor already made money, when Lodsys bought the patent from him/her/them. And yes, this is how patents are supposed to work, or do you think that inventors shouldn't be allowed to sell patents?

Re:One question they did not answer (4, Insightful)

calzones (890942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143112)

or do you think that inventors shouldn't be allowed to sell patents?

BINGO.

If you set out to patent an invention, you should only be able to profit from patent protection if you actually execute on the patented invention, or if you are waiting to figure out how to execute (waiting on investors, waiting on cheaper technology, etc) and someone else comes along and commercially releases an invention that trespasses on it.

Selling a patent should be worthless unless you are selling it as part of a business that is actively involved in commercially executing / production on that very patent. In which case the entire patent + production bundle exchange hands.

The way it should be: If you are unable to execute on a patented invention then you are SOL unless someone else decides to trespass on it. If you invent something and patent, your only hopes of getting paid are either executing or suing someone who violates your patent before you are able to execute.

In short, inventing something with no known means of executing on it, including the inability to raise investment capital to execute on it should be a worthless enterprise and unworthy of your time and money to patent. Let someone else patent it who can execute on it or who at least thinks they can and is willing to go unpaid on their patent.

Re:One question they did not answer (2)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143546)

But what if you don't have the means of production?

Let's say some poor electrical engineer produces a small solar cell with much better efficiency than currently available. But he doesn't have enough money to build a factory and hire people to operate the company. Should he be ashamed of himself for being poor, not allowed to licence his invention?

Do you really suggest that only the wealthy should be allowed to patent things?

Re:One question they did not answer (2)

calzones (890942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143712)

If the patent is worthwhile, the engineer will have no trouble securing funding for a new company dedicated to producing the solar cell.

Alternatively, the engineer can sit on his hands and just publicize his new invention and set up licensing fees to others that wish to fabricate the invention.

However, the engineer should never be allowed to just shrug and sell off the patent. Buying a patent should be effectively worthless unless you are buying it as part of a package deal that includes production.

Being in the business of owning patent portfolios and not doing anything with them should be 100% non-viable.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

calzones (890942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143834)

To clarify my poorly worded previous post: when I said "not allowed" I didn't mean it should be against the law, I meant it should just be that any patent should be worthless to another entity if it doesn't include the fabrication/production half. Being worthless, no one would ever offer an inventor money for just a patent.

If someone wanted to buy Apple, for example, then only patents that Apple had already successfully commercialized would be worth anything. The rest of the patents Apple has filed over the years would immediately become unenforceable even if the buyer ended up executing on them.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#36144210)

I don't know, I still don't think this would help anything. It would create a black market of patents ready for registration. And what about people with a large number of patents (~10 or more), would they have to produce all of the possible products themselves?

What you're proposing would help against patent trolls, but I'm afraid it would hurt actual inventors as well. Obvious patents are a bigger issue here that being enforced by non-inventors, which is also easier to solve.

Re:One question they did not answer (0)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36144292)

If the patent is worthwhile, the engineer will have no trouble securing funding for a new company dedicated to producing the solar cell.

What planet do you live on? Here in the real world, it is far harder to raise capital for a real invention than for "virtual garbage". A real invention has quantifiable benefits. These are reasonably well defined, and obviously limited.

Virtual garbage is unquantifiable and can, it is argued by scam artists that are the investment and "wealth management" world have potentially unlimited benefits. They can therefore justify investing other people's wealth in shite, while taking a percentage for their "due dilligence" (yes it does mean arse covering).

The only way a lot of inventors can survive the cost of getting a patent is to find a buyer or licencee. Its not easy with the investment world almost entirely corrupt.

Raising money is not that easy (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 3 years ago | (#36144522)

If the patent is worthwhile, the engineer will have no trouble securing funding for a new company dedicated to producing the solar cell.

As someone who has been involved with fund raising for startup businesses I feel comfortable saying that is nonsense. Just because you have a good idea does not even remotely ensure that securing funding will be easy or ensure a return on investment. Even if you can raise the money that doesn't ensure you'll get the money on favorable terms.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#36144208)

Any way of 'fixing' the patent system that involves allowing mathematical proofs or (bio)chemical processes to be patented is doomed to fail. The patent system should only allow a monopoly on the production of tangible objects for a limited amount of time. This amount of time should be enough to get investors and a production facility off the ground (~10 years) and expire into the public domain after that.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36144508)

But what if you don't have the means of production?

That's what investors are for. And if you have a patent on the item, then you should be able to get some investors willing to help you out.

And your example is retarded. The engineer should be starting a business making those solar cells. If he's not going to try and take advantage of the idea, then he has no business stopping someone else from doing it.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36144464)

No, I don't. And regardless of that, I believe that if you're not actually using your idea in a product, you should lose the patent protection. Patents were created to ADVANCE the Arts and Sciences, not so that someone could think something up, and then earn money off everyone else who thought it up too.

Re:One question they did not answer (5, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142520)

Who cares why they think they should profit from something so obvious? Why do foxes think they should profit from rabbits' foraging? It's a meaningless question. They are just trying to feed themselves, in a way that rabbits might argue is immoral, but that no fox would agree is.

The real question is, when are we going to stop letting foxes gnaw at our bellies and fight back?

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

ep32g79 (538056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142754)

From TFA Lodsys attempts to rationalize it by saying:

Many industries study the IP landscape prior to releasing a product or service and either design around or acquire necessary patent rights if they need them to do their solution. Usually these industries have significant capital at risk to build and/or market, so they have an economic rationale to invest resources up front to understand and clear IP rights. Oil companies do not drill on land where they don’t have the rights. Movies aren’t released that don’t clear all the music rights. Clothing manufacturers license logos from Disney or the NFL to include them in their product. Historically, the tech industry did not clear patent rights in advance because the amount of time and effort to do so made no economic sense given the relative low cost to create software and the speed at which products were being released so a norm has arisen where it’s build and ship now, and worry about clearing the patent rights later.

So, if I am reading this correctly, they argue that because:

1) Oil companies secure mineral rights before drilling
2) Movie production companies secure the appropriate copyrights for music
3) Clothing manufactures clear the respective trademark before pressing an image

Software developers aught wade through the nebulous waters of software patents to secure any and all licenses which may or may not have anything remotely to do with the software they plan to ship.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142782)

This sounds like a trap to get increased judgments when developers are found to be infringing. IANAL, but don't they increase the damages if the court finds that you've infringed on a patent and you had the audacity to conduct a search before offering your product for sale?

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142922)

The one I am annoyed with is Apple. Apple should realize that this type of attack threatens their app-store model, and assume the responsibility of providing IP protection for their individual developers instead of leaving them in the cold. Lodsys has already admitted that they will not take on a big company due to the cost of litigation. Also, Apple receives 30% of their revenues of these developers, so they need to step in and provide patent indemnity for this particular case.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143074)

Apple can't pass indemnity. IANAL, but Apple would be stupid to sign a contract that did pased indemnity because it would cost them a fortune.

Instead, prior art needs to be found so that this patent can be invalidated. Somebody, please.....

Re:One question they did not answer (3, Insightful)

sqldr (838964) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142806)

yeah.. we stop stop wasting people's times with frivolous death threats and actually MURDER the bastards! :-)

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142834)

Yeah, right, that'll improve the situation. The last thing we need is for the people who are in favor of removing this government subsidy to come across to the general public as murderers.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143670)

Yeah, especially when they realise that they can't spot a joke either

Re:One question they did not answer (2)

SilasMortimer (1612867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143812)

Glad you pointed that out, as I'd taken the previous comment seriously and had immediately begun planning how to implement its instruction.

It's a bluff (1)

iMadeGhostzilla (1851560) | more than 3 years ago | (#36144298)

Their answer to the first and most important question, "why targeting little guys and not Apple?" is "it is only fair to get paid by the party that is accountable for the entire solution." When you are trying to forcibly take money from small fry who have no knowledge of your so called patent and you have to use the words "it is only fair," you know you don't have a case.

And then they proceed with that ridiculous hotel analogy: "hotel owner is responsible for the service, not the owner of the land that the hotel is leasing, or the manufacturer of hammers used to build the hotel." The analogy is flawed because the manner of the service is instituted by the Apple.

Re:It's a bluff (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36144458)

Their answer to the first and most important question, "why targeting little guys and not Apple?" is "it is only fair to get paid by the party that is accountable for the entire solution." When you are trying to forcibly take money from small fry who have no knowledge of your so called patent and you have to use the words "it is only fair," you know you don't have a case.

Not defending scumbag patent trolls, but they answer it in TFA:

Q: Lodsys is trying to force Apple to take a license by pressuring iOS developers.
  05/15/2011 No, thatâ(TM)s not whatâ(TM)s happening. Apple is licensed for its nameplate products and services.

So Apple licensed the patent.

And not just that, but...

Q: What about other Operating Systems such as Android?
  05/15/2011 So far no one has asked this, or speculated on it, but itâ(TM)s a logical question for a business that has created applications on multiple platforms. Google is licensed for its nameplate products and services. Also, Microsoft is licensed for their nameplate products and services.

So did Google and Microsoft.

Re:One question they did not answer (4, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142544)

They did answer that question, rather obliquely.

Starting in 1988, Dan Abelow invented, put in significant amounts of his time, and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in patent filing, prosecution lawyer fees, and maintenance fees to the US Patent Office to create the patent portfolio.

Clearly, someone who spent so much money at the patent office deserves a return on their investment. That's what the patent office is for after all, blatant extortion over things anybody would've thought of given half a brain.

There are some kinds of cleverness that seem simple when you learn the idea, but weren't obvious before the idea was known. And whether or not you think that sort of cleverness should be rewarded with a patent, this isn't that sort of cleverness. This is patenting the bleeding obvious.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142622)

We shouldn't lump in legitimate uses for IP protections in with companies like Trollsys, er I mean Lodsys.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142630)

Still doesn't answer why something Blatantly Fucking Obvious didn't fail the Obviousness test in the first place.

US Patent Office has some explaining to do about why they are so fucking incompetent. This is clearly in the list of "how the fuck was it ever granted" patents.

(Yes, I know... overworked due to patent slamming, paid by number of patents processed rather than quality of work done vetting them, etc).

Re:One question they did not answer (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142728)

I don't think that this patent was that bad in and of itself - the real question is, why can they be bought and sold like securities?

They should be non-transferable unless the case is one of a certain company buying another.

They shouldn't be traded like baseball cards and then used to suck money out of the system without adding a cent of value to anything, anywhere.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

txghia58 (951109) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142958)

So I invent something that is an actual break through and patent it. BUT I don't have the money to produce and market it after paying all the patent attorneys so it should just rot away?

Re:One question they did not answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36143418)

You could always Licence it...

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143116)

Because that provides a way for a company/person with capital to pay the person who doesn't have the capital for their invention, while transferring the risk of the business being mismanaged from the patent owner to the business runner.

It also doesn't change anything since nothing stops the patent holder from contracting with a company to sue whomever they tell him to sue while they provide the lawyers and funds and also keep the settlements/damage awards in return for them paying him some cash.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36144052)

This solves nothing. Dan Abelow could hire a third party as a licensing subcontractor. The outcome could be financially exactly same -- after all, will you now start policing how people write contracts? They could agree to whatever, including a "hiring bonus" paid to him upon execution of contract.

Re:One question they did not answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142732)

Did you not get the part about there being an investment and an expectancy of return on that investment? Patents are 100% about business. The patent office sells monopolies. If you still think that patents are anything but that, investments in monopoly rights, you need to wake up.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142796)

Did you not understand the part where patents need to be verified to be non-obvious before being granted?

Re:One question they did not answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36143264)

It's a residual argumentative shoehorn from the time when this investment method was created. That rule is irrelevant to the cash flow.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142792)

I doubt that this was obvious in 1988, but still, I think the question is why the patent is still considered to be valid after all this time, I mean it took them 12 years to get some of these patents through the office, makes me wonder why the system hasn't been fixed to limit those sorts of "mistakes" when filing.

Re:One question they did not answer (3, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142830)

It wasn't obvious in 1988 because a confluence of technologies didn't exist to make it trivial. Coming up with an idea that's not obvious because its completely impractical and then suing people once it does become practical and they unwittingly implement it is ridiculous.

Re:One question they did not answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142756)

If I recall, there applications with in-app purchase buttons even before 1988. They usually took you to a screen that said "call this number" or such. Wouldn't that make this patent invalid (as well as being stupid and never-should-have-existed)?

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142798)

The patent system by design tends to reward the obvious.

By the time the market and investors understand the really innovative nonobvious stuff, the patents would have expired :).

Whereas crap like "one-click" gets rewarded.

Re:One question they did not answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36143040)

They did answer that question, rather obliquely.

Starting in 1988, Dan Abelow invented, put in significant amounts of his time, and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in patent filing, prosecution lawyer fees, and maintenance fees to the US Patent Office to create the patent portfolio.

Eh followup question then: how does one manage to spend "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in patenting something so patently (pun intended) obvious?

Re:One question they did not answer (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142736)

So why do you think you should profit from something so painfully obvious?

Well, like any patent ... to actually read this one it's anything but obvious.

It's 79 (or so) points of an 'invention' involving ... well, 'evaluating a commodity' is the closest I could find to any useful noun, and then a bunch of subsequent claims which say various things like "claim n-1 but in fabulous pink".

I'm not a patent attorney (or, any kind of attorney) ... this could have been describing a metaphysical system to measure karma ... who the hell knows what it actually says. It's so convoluted into legalese as to be incomprehensible. It bamboozled the USPTO into approving it, and apparently they did several patent extensions/refilings/amendments ... which, as I recall, effectively reset the clock and the patent stays in the queue but gets back dated to the original date.

So, he came up with a vague idea, and spent literally years tweaking it endlessly to get through the system ... all the while, people were independently creating his 'idea', but he got to keep his work back dated to the original filing.

Of course, the USPTO are morons, and their rules say that say that once they've validated a patent, you have to act like it's legit, and that becomes the law of the land. Trying to overturn a stupid and pointless patent is exceedingly difficult.

Sadly, they now have a patent which covers ... well, it's so vague, it probably covers things we haven't even identified yet. Maybe even the stock market since it's mostly talking about valuation and distribution of commodities.

This is no way to run a legal system.

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142952)

... this could have been describing a metaphysical system to measure karma ...

Uh Oh. Slashdot's moderation system is in big trouble....

Re:One question they did not answer (1)

choko (44196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142832)

Companies patent the painfully obvious (and lots of prior art) all the time. Apple has a patent on multi-touch, so I don't really see much of a difference. I will agree that the system is broken. Patents like these should have never been allowed in the first place, but if you are going to allow large companies to get away with it, then everyone should get away with it.

The actual important question they did not answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142948)

So far not mentioned in the blog: "How does an 'Upgrade' button infringe any of the claims of the quoted patent for recording user feedback locally?"

See, for instance: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2152750&cid=36122268 [slashdot.org]

Re:The actual important question they did not answ (1)

dlingman (1757250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143610)

Claim 24: 24. The system of claim 1 wherein the two-way local interactions comprise a transaction for sale of a product or a service contract for the commodity. I'm guessing that would be the claim in question. As for which apps apple needs to pay for? I'd guess the app store one, and the itunes one at a minimum.

May I be the first to suggest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142462)

...that these guys go screw themselves?

So (0)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142472)

Apple, Google and Microsoft, all 3 have licences from them?

they ask for 0.575% for US revenue. I dont know the numbers, but 0.575% fo Apple,Google and Microsoft US revenue combined should be a HUGE number..

Re:So (1)

do0b (1617057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142540)

I wouldn't think Apple, Google and Microsoft agreed to such a percentage. A flat fee, maybe. More like grant us a license or we'll find a way to litigate you to the ground.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142568)

Apple, Google and Microsoft, all 3 have licences from them?

they ask for 0.575% for US revenue. I dont know the numbers, but 0.575% fo Apple,Google and Microsoft US revenue combined should be a HUGE number..

Approximately $880m USD... A very nice number indeed...

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142586)

Apple, Google and Microsoft, all 3 have licences from them?

they ask for 0.575% for US revenue. I dont know the numbers, but 0.575% fo Apple,Google and Microsoft US revenue combined should be a HUGE number..

I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be all revenue, only revenue generated by the in-app upgrade button, which probably isn't really all that much for those companies.

Re:So (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142740)

It is probably an insignificant unrelated license between Apple and Lodsys, if any actually exists.

Re:So (2)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142752)

They ask for 0.575% of U.S. revenue for the products using the patent.

FTFY.

They get 0.575% of all U.S. revenue from Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc., but rather only the revenue from products that use the patent in question. There is a BIG difference.

Patent Troll/Wall Street Speculator business model (0)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142518)

How can we make profits without actually doing any work or producing anything of value?
How can we make revenue off of other people's work and businesses?
I know! Threaten people and make stuff up!

Re:Patent Troll/Wall Street Speculator business mo (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142810)

The problem is that fraud has been rampant on Wall Street for so long that I could probably host all of the honest people that work there in a small house.

Re:Patent Troll/Wall Street Speculator business mo (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143454)

I could probably fit all the dishonest people from wall-street in a small house as well. Though I might need to reduce them to compressed ash first.

Ideation (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142522)

From TFA: "This ideation, as expressed in the patent, enabled a building block for others to build on and create more value."

I'm pretty sure that the use of non-words like "ideation" is inversely proportional to the originality of that idea.

Re:Ideation (1)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142620)

It would seem that it has been a medical term [wikipedia.org] for a while at least. I'm certain that ideation of suicide is close to the connotation they were looking for.

Re:Ideation (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142646)

You're right, I should have said buzzwords, not non-words.

Re:Ideation (1)

TopSpin (753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142656)

I'm pretty sure that the use of non-words like "ideation"

That word disgusted me as well. I was certain that it had to be a marketing speak neologism. It isn't. Ideation is a legitimate word, resurrected from disuse by these heinous trolls.

Websters (1913): ideation [uchicago.edu]

Re:Ideation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36143110)

perhaps because you can't call something a creation if you never created it

patent trolls (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142570)

I wish we could deal with patent trolls the same way the judge recently dealt with Righthaven by stating that having no rights other than the right to enforce the IP is on its face hollow because no damage can come to the rights holder. If the idea of copyrights and patents is to "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts," then I think it's obvious that allowing firms to just buy the right to sue over a piece of IP is against the intention in the constitution and hence invalidates their suit.

Re:patent trolls (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142794)

They did not "just buy the right to sue over a piece of IP", they bought the rights to IP. They effectively bought the IP and all control over said IP as allowed by law. Someone made "Progress of Science and useful Arts", patented said progress, and then sold the patent and all associated rights to someone else. You are trying to change the facts.

Re:patent trolls (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143578)

Unless I misread the article they sold the rights to sue to the subcompany
"Intellectual Ventures who then sold those patent rights to a private ownership group which then setup “independent companies, with sufficient capital and talented staff to focus on licensing the patent rights broadly to the marketplace."

I think it's telling that it says patent rights not patents. The way the patent trolls generally work is they encapsulate the bare minimum in the troll so that if they lose there is no recourse for the aggrieved party, if they actually had to stand up to countersuits then the model would be less valuable.

Re:patent trolls (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36144202)

You misread the article. Specifically, you read into it instead of reading it.

Re:patent trolls (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143426)

The problem is that although the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, courts do not look at it that way.

They layer precedent upon precedent upon precedent over the laws, which are in turn laid over the Constitution, and what you end up with is a murky soup prone to corruption, injustice, abuse and even tyranny in case.

The apotheosis of patent troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142578)

If Anonymous want to do something truly useful they'd wipe this scum off the face of the Internet.

Re:The apotheosis of patent troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142652)

YOU are anonymous. No play on words intended. We are ALL anonymous.

Most revealing section (4, Informative)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142588)

Here is the most revealing section of the "answer" given"

http://www.lodsys.com/1/post/2011/05/q-what-is-dan-abelows-involvement-is-intellectual-ventures-behind-lodsys-or-controlling-lodsys-in-some-way.html [lodsys.com]

For those that don't want to read the section, allow me to sum up: Some guy named Dan invested a crapload of time patenting things he had no intention of making. those patents were resold a couple times until they landed in the hands of a Patent Troll company who set up multiple smaller companies with the expressed intention of Patent trolling.

Yep. It's every bit as obnoxious and evil as you thought it was.

Re:Most revealing section (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142638)

the new SCO Group is born...

One question though (3, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142616)

Assuming this patent is valid(playing devil's advocate here), what would it mean to Apple's demands that apps allow for in-app purchases(that Apple takes a cut from)? Apple would essentially be requiring developers to use and therefore have to license this idea, and then pay the Apple royalties on top of that, would it not? Seems like this would be bad for Apple, as it would drive more people away from iOS and the app store, which would mean fewer fees and royalties for Apple.

Re:One question though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142672)

As near as I can tell from their "FAQ", the patent covers upgrading from a free to a paid version of an app, not all other in-app purchases. And the FAQ also hints at the idea that this isn't unique to Apple, although they may have started their trolling there.

Re:One question though (1)

rritterson (588983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142774)

I have no doubt that Apple realizes a vibrant community of developers is what fuels the app store and the iOS ecosystem, as well as the chilling effect this sort of lawsuit can have on someone looking to make apps. If at any time some patent troll can ambush you and take your revenue away, you'll think twice before starting to write an app.

Apple has a history of taking time to respond to news like this, but I'm sure they are looking at all possible options here, from agreeing to pay more in licensing fees to get immunity for developers to launching a nuclear bomb of lawyers at Lodsys.

And, if they find a good solution, they'll combine it with FUD and use it as marketing: "Why develop for the questionably written Android (did they steal from Oracle?) without any protection from submarine parents? Come develop for us, and we'll protect you!"

Re:One question though (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142860)

AUWYHSTOT (Acronyms are Useless When You Have to Spell Them Out Too)

Only when you don't use them again. If your post happened to contain that phrase in multiple places, then it would (ironically) be useful to replace them all with AUWYHSTOT.

This one time... (2)

theghost (156240) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142686)

This one time i was at a baseball game and i bought a beer without leaving my seat. Did Lodsys get their cut off that?

Were you playing baseball or watching baseball? (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143656)

If you weren't playing the game, I'm not certain that the patent would apply.

And if you were playing the game, was the beer instrumental to you winning the game? If not, I don't think the patent would apply.

Not that I think the patent is necessarily valid, mind you, I just don't think the analogy is apt. Paying to view a game and then purchasing a beverage while viewing the game is not the same thing as entering a game and then paying for materials, etcetera to help win the game.

Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142726)

Read the patent. Teletext, Prestel, Viewdata and whatever it was called in France are all prior art.

Can you be infringing by using a supplied API? (2)

KreAture (105311) | more than 3 years ago | (#36142826)

If apple supplies an API for/with in-app purchasing, then I shouldn't be infringing for using it. Apple should. Then again, there were shopping apps before, and they were not infringing on in-app purchasing patents, but existed before them. Doesn't that void the patent?

Re:Can you be infringing by using a supplied API? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36143290)

If only...the way our effed up system works is anyone touching the patened object can be sued. Even the individual consumer. Company I worked for got dragged into stupid shit like this a couple years ago. The difference is that we were an online shop selling computer hardware. What we got sued over? Processor heatsinks with heatpipes! Shit NASA developed back in like the 50's or 60's I think for the north, but is a new invention since the patent was beyond broad and vague. If you wanna look it up, search for "ATI outletpc".

Maybe it's just the case that... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142870)

Well if you develop for an apple platform, then it is arguable that you get what you deserve - a little harsh but there ya go.

And can I say that whatever your opinion on Apple as a company, I sincerely hope we can all wish the best for Steve Jobs, especially given today's sad news that he is apparently much closer to meeting his maker than we'd all thought. It's worth noting that his demise will not in actual fact be that sad, if you're an advocate for freedom on the internet and don't like evil firms. Please croak Steve and do us all a big favor!

This isn't so bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36142920)

With all of the different developers contacted with basically a threat/cease-and-desist/pay up notice, perhaps they will form a consortium to appeal and revoke what appears to be a completely unconscionable software patent.

This undue attention will be their undoing.

Invention ? (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143036)

What exactly did Lodsys "invent" here ? And how can it not be considered trivial/obvious ?

Can I go ahead and patent In-Bar Purchasing (IBP) ? "A process where one person, robot, or legal entity, acquires food, beverage or short-lived sexual gratification in exchange for cash, credit, or barter."

I'll gladly take 0.575% of all bar revenue worldwide. Suuuuure.

Re:Invention ? (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143584)

Can I go ahead and patent In-Bar Purchasing (IBP) ? "A process where one person, robot, or legal entity, acquires food, beverage or short-lived sexual gratification in exchange for cash, credit, or barter."

That reminds me of a joke : "A hive intelligence, a robot, and a limited liability company walk into a bar..."

There is one, just one proper solution to all this (1)

DanielSmedegaardBuus (1563999) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143048)

...patent shizzle: We need a death squad killforce to squash these patent trolls from existence. Their being here is a burdon to all, and therefore, their life grant should be revoked. ASAP.

Going after who earns the value? (1)

01101010001010001010 (694010) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143100)

The first item in their FAQ says that they are going after developers because they make the money from using the technology. Actually I think they'd find that Apple, taking 30% of everyone's in-app purchases would be earning many times the amount that any individual developer would earn. So by their own logic they should be going after Apple. Also Apple has delivered the tools for devs to 'infringe' their patents.... Bunch of trolls...

And yet. (3, Interesting)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143108)

Their responses are all - naturally - based on the assumption that their claims are valid. However, they have yet to explain how their patent -- which specifically encompasses a method of providing feedback [slashdot.org] to content creators from content consumers... has relevance to an in-app upgrade purchase. Nothing of the sort is referenced in the patent. The suggestion that such a purchase is a form of feedback is specious at best: the customer is offering no suggestions for improving or changing the product (the common example specified in the patent itself), but is rather paying continue using or unlock already-existing functionality.

Living and Dying in East Texas (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143220)

So they're getting death threats over this. I'm not surprised. The big problem there is that only one of those threats ever has to be real. The thing about East Texas is that while it may be hospitable to patent trolls, it is also hospitable to gun ownership. Not a great mix.

Re:Living and Dying in East Texas (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143462)

Patent troll season? Yes please.

Excuse me (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143300)

Excuse me while I go patent the hyperlink as a method of selecting product or content for purchase or rental.

I am not greedy; I seek only 0.575% of US revenue.

Can't they just be slashdotted? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36143844)

Maybe everyone here should send an email to Lodsys describing an app that they've thought about developing and ask for a license agreement? As the design for the app evolves, keep sending revisions to them to see if it requires a new agreement?

That should at least slow down their business model.

Hmm...that gives me an idea - maybe someone should patent the patent troll business model?

Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36143904)

This is the same "Inventor" that got a patent on tooltips:
http://www.techdirt.com/blog.php?company=webvention&edition=techdirt

And roll-over images:
http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/10/14/2030245/Webvention-Demanding-80k-For-Rollover-Images

Both perfect examples of the abuse and mis-use of the USPTO.

Spammers (and patent trolls) lie (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 3 years ago | (#36144270)

It's the first rule of dealing with spammers, and should be the first rule of dealing with patent trolls.

You're fighting someone with no ethics and no memory. Assume they'll lie to you. Assume they'll lie to everyone else. And assume the lies will contradict each other, and even (sometimes) a lie will contradict itself.

Don't give them anything: valuable information, money, or the time of day.

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