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EFF Presses Apple To Indemnify Developers

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the an-apple-a-day-keeps-the-trolls-away dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 93

Julie188 writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation is calling on Apple to indemnify its developers from Lodsys — a patent troll that's alleging patent infringement on the in-app purchasing used by iOS apps. (That's the technology developed by Apple and forced on many of its developers.) The letters Lodsys has been sending out came to light on May 13th, and apparently developers have been asking Apple for help to no avail."

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mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (4, Informative)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201392)

In this context I would like to strongly recommend this new mocoNews (paidContent.org) article [moconews.net] entitled "Mobile Patent War On The Little Guy Demands Response From Apple". Tom Krazit explains very well what the business issues are, including that Apple itself sues over patents quite actively, especially against Android.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201572)

Except that that article addresses nonexistent issues. The EFF is not demanding that Apple indemnify developers against all patent lawsuits, but rather against lawsuits relating to technologies that Apple ships with iOS and which Apple requires developers to use as part of the developer agreement. Additionally, the article claims that doing this would grant legitimacy to the Lodsys patent; but Apple already granted them legitimacy by signing an agreement with Lodsys.

The real lesson here is for developers: don't let someone else dictate to you how you should write your software.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1, Troll)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201604)

It would be nice to live in a world where the platform you develop for doesn't dictate how you write the software, but in practice that isn't going to happen.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201620)

Really? Funny, when last I checked, I can write software using whatever programming language I want, and whatever technology is feasible, on my laptop. Nobody tells me what languages I am allowed to use or requires me to use their method of processing purchases. I can even run a different operating system with a completely different design in a virtual machine, if I feel that a different operating system would be better for developing my software.

So where is that dictation you were talking about?

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201750)

Only in the [Soviet Russia] Apple World....

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (0)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201842)

You're talking about no one requiring you to code a particular way on a particular platform.

GP is talking about being required to code a particular way for a particular platform.

For example:
If you wish to develop for OSX, you are limited in your choices.
If you wish to develop for Windows, you are limited in your choices.
If you wish to develop for .NET, you are limited in your choices.
If you wish to develop for a game console, you are limited in your choices.
If you wish to develop for the web, you are limited in your choices.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (3)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202870)

Not really true for the first two. I can write a Visual Basic application, bundle it with WINE and X11, and ship it for OS X. I doubt anyone would buy it, but nothing is preventing me from doing so. I can write an Objective-C application, link it with GNUstep, and ship it for Windows. I can write applications any Smalltalk for both platforms, and nothing stops me. I can distribute them on paper tape, punch cards, floppy disk, CD, DVD, or downloads from my web page, and the only thing stopping me from doing any of these is that my might have no idea what to do with some of these options.

.NET and the web are a bit more limited, but there are third-party compilers that emit CLIR, so you can use third-party toolkits with third-party languages on .NET without anyone controlling how you distribute them, or imposing requirements on the functionality. The web is more locked down, but I've written an Objective-C to JavaScript compiler, so I can use C code in web apps if I really want to, and nothing is stopping me.

Consoles are similar, but that's just a good reason not to develop for consoles.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203112)

So basically, you think your opinion somehow drives reality, and you'll spew an enormous amount of bullshit to hide the fact that that is retarded from yourself.

Noted.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208604)

I can write a Visual Basic application, bundle it with WINE and X11, and ship it for OS X

My mistake, I didn't realize we were allowing for multiple virtualization layers in this discussion of coding for a particular platform. I'd still say that you coded for a Windows platform though, and that just lets you use a Windows environment on OSX.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208774)

WINE is not a virtualisation layer, it's just a set of libraries that implement the Win32 APIs. X11 is not a virtualisation layer either. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from including an entire VM when you ship an OS X application. In fact, some SDKs do bundle complete emulators, which can run arbitrary code. The same with Windows. In both, you can use the native APIs directly, or you can use something built on top. Most of the native APIs that most developers use are built on top of lower-level APIs that are also public. There's nothing - other than the amount of effort involved - stopping you from shipping a Windows application that talks directly to the NT kernel via the system call APIs and ignores all of the high-level APIs. The same is true with OS X. Taking it to a slightly less ludicrous extreme, you can use libc and Quartz calls to talk to the operating system and the windowing system, without using Cocoa or Objective-C. As long as your compiler can target the platform's native C ABI, you can use this stuff from any language that you want. You can distribute the resulting applications via any mechanism, and end users will have no problem installing and using them.

This is qualitatively different from the iPhone or a Windows 7 phone, where you are not permitted by the developer agreement or by OS security policies, from writing certain kinds of code.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (2)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203590)

Not really. Other than maybe game consoles (never developed for one of them), none of them ban the use of interpreters so as long as you (or typically, someone else) are willing to spend the time required to port your favorite language's compiler/runtime/whatever to said platform, you can use it to build your end-product. Hell, make it polished enough and the platform maker may even adopt it as 'semi-official' (as with most non-Java languages for the JVM).

It may be hard to believe but really, the world outside iOS really *is* that welcoming and carefree. Come try it sometime.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#36208688)

none of them ban the use of interpreters so as long as you (or typically, someone else) are willing to spend the time required to port your favorite language's compiler/runtime/whatever to said platform

Yeah, I think I see where the confusion comes from. You and everyone else are talking about how in theory it's possible because no one is actively trying to keep you from doing those things. But I (and I believe tripleevenfall) meant that in practice, or perhaps just in a business environment, there will be limits to what you can do.

With enough time and money you could do it however you want. But you do not always have that time and money.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (2)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204522)

> For example:
> If you wish to develop for OSX, you are limited in your choices.
Nope. Not yet, anyway

> If you wish to develop for Windows, you are limited in your choices.
Nope. Not in any way what so ever

> If you wish to develop for .NET, you are limited in your choices.
Naaa, not really. It is like saying if you develop C++ you are limited C++, in other words: Stupid

> If you wish to develop for a game console, you are limited in your choices.
Yes, they are like smart phones

> If you wish to develop for the web, you are limited in your choices.
Nope, see the the .NET argument

Wow, that was a surprisingly bad list of examples, only one was true and the rest was not even remotely true. I could come up with one or two examples that would fit your point, but I really don't see the point. A few specific platforms has stupid rule(r)s that really suck, and the fact that there is now more than one device of that kind, doesn't make it a good or acceptable thing.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201858)

Just wait until all other computer manufactures start thinking the way Apple does. Then you'll know what everybody is talking about.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203422)

Which disproves the point that other platforms are not like Apple's platform... how exactly?
If and when other computer manufacturers start thinking like Apple, we're all screwed.
But right now they don't, and you still have freedom.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36205364)

Just wait until all other computer manufactures start thinking the way Apple does.

If it gets rid of the 75% of stuff out there that is pure crap, I'm all for it.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221146)

That is all I need, more fart applications for every other OS.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

avatar139 (918375) | more than 3 years ago | (#36205596)

Really? Funny, when last I checked, I can write software using whatever programming language I want, and whatever technology is feasible, on my laptop. Nobody tells me what languages I am allowed to use or requires me to use their method of processing purchases. I can even run a different operating system with a completely different design in a virtual machine, if I feel that a different operating system would be better for developing my software.

So where is that dictation you were talking about?

For Android, it's right here: http://developer.android.com/sdk/terms.html [android.com]

Ultimately, no matter what mobile platform you're developing for, you do have play by some rules, so if you don't like the strictures that Apple imposes on development for their platform, then just stick to developing for a different platform who's rules you can live with!

Personally though, speaking both as a consumer and an IT person, I have to say I prefer iOS because it may cause some extra work for the developers (and I'm speaking from personal experience there too ;), but I've found the end result of that extra work is far more stability than is present on the majority of applications for other platforms, who rely on other development methods!

While I can't speak for others, I tend to value the stability and ease of use of my applications as a consumer over you as you as a developer having to work a little more at doing your job, which I can't help but wonder if that might be the real reason behind a lot of the outcry I hear about lack of choices! ;)

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203224)

On iOS, software development environment choose you!

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203398)

You should step outside the Apple IOS world once in a while.
Pretty much every other platform (including Apple's own OS-X) will give you that freedom.
They certainly try to point you in a certain directory by providing standard libraries, tools, languages, etc, but you have a choice to ignore all of those.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (3, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201688)

Apple didn't license that patent from Lodsys, they (as well as Google, Microsoft and many others) licensed a big basket of patents from Intellectual Ventures. That patent was later spun off to Lodsys.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202842)

+1
A lot of companies have those patents licensed, just because they had bulk licence from IV.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

dlingman (1757250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36205448)

And the fact that it was in that bucket, says nothing about validity of the patent, it's actual worth in the real world, or anything at all. Just that Apple shelled out cash to IV, and obtained a license to all the stuff in their bucket at the time.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (2)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202482)

The real lesson here is for developers: don't let someone else dictate to you how you should write your software.

Name an OS who's APIs won't POTENTIALLY fall victim to patent trolls.

[crickets]

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

MassacrE (763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203764)

but Apple already granted them legitimacy by signing an agreement with Lodsys.

I believe all of the large companies had rights to the patent as part of the Intellectual Ventures portfolio, and part of the deal of the sale of the patent to Lodsys included that companies who had license to the portfolio retained the right to use the patent.

Re:mocoNews article explains Apple's dilemma well (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#36205946)

Additionally, the article claims that doing this would grant legitimacy to the Lodsys patent

This. I have STILL not seen any explanation from Lodsys as to how they believe making a purchase in-app is at all related to the patent [freepatentsonline.com] they are claiming everyone needs to license:

Primary claims:

1. A system comprising: units of a commodity that can be used by respective users in different locations, a user interface, which is part of each of the units of the commodity, configured to provide a medium for two-way local interaction between one of the users and the corresponding unit of the commodity, and further configured to elicit, from a user, information about the user's perception of the commodity, a memory within each of the units of the commodity capable of storing results of the two-way local interaction, the results including elicited information about user perception of the commodity, a communication element associated with each of the units of the commodity capable of carrying results of the two-way local interaction from each of the units of the commodity to a central location, and a component capable of managing the interactions of the users in different locations and collecting the results of the interactions at the central location.

54. A system comprising: units of a facsimile equipment...

60. A system comprising: units of a commodity that can be used by respective users in different locations, a user interface which is part of each of the units of the commodity and is configured to provide a medium for two-way local interaction between one of the users and the corresponding unit of the commodity for generating information about use of the unit of the commodity by the user, the user interface being configured to elicit information about (i) steps that a vendor of the commodity could take to improve the user's satisfaction or (ii) training or support provided for users of the commodity; a communication element associated with each of the units of the commodity capable of carrying results of the two-way local interaction from each of the units of the commodity to a central location, and a component capable of managing the interactions of the users in different locations and collection of the results of the interactions at the central location and provides access to the collection of results to a third party.

Not a single claim mentions purchasing or upgrading. One primary claim (54) requires a fax machine and is right out. Claim 60 requires that the interface is "configured to elicit information about (i) steps that a vendor of the commodity could take to improve user's satisfaction" and is right out in the vast majority of cases. (Does anyone have a "buy" button that asks how they can make the user happier?) Claim 1 requires that the "commodity" be "configured to elicit, from a user, information about the user's perception of the commodity" and furthermore have a "memory" that stores the "results of the two-way local interaction, ... including elicited information about user perception of the commodity".

Interestingly, this patent is a continuation of an abandoned application that was a continuation of another patent [freepatentsonline.com] . As I understand it (thanks to wikipedia, since I'm not a lawyer), continuation patents [wikipedia.org] cannot claim new functionality that was not present in the patent it claims to be a continuation of. (note that "continuation-in-part", which does allow adding new "subject matter", appears to be specifically noted when a patent is a CIP patent, like this one [freepatentsonline.com] .)

As for Apple, Microsoft, etc licensing the patent. They have plenty of documentation pages that ask people to rate how helpful the documentation/support was, some of these pages are even available from an application (hit F1 in Office 2010 and search for something. Did that article help you?) which could probably run afoul of claim 60 if prior art couldn't be found.

Indemnify (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201404)

Another word like "Recession" or "Gag Order", that will suddenly be thrown around like it has been part of common vocabulary.

Re:Indemnify (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201590)

Indemnity has been part of common vocabulary since the idea of insurance came about.

It doesn't really matter now, does it (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201430)

Happy Rapture Day everybo

Re:It doesn't really matter now, does it (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201504)

Hopefully this Saturday rapture phenomenon will be an exclusively North American thing.

It's now Sunday in my timezone. 6pm passed without incident.

Re:It doesn't really matter now, does it (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202882)

I was looking out of my window to see if I could spot souls going up to heaven, but I just saw rain falling to earth. Quite disappointing, but probably expected for Wales. Still, if God wants to take all of the evangelists somewhere else, he's got my vote...

Apples or any in app purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201448)

The fact that Apple mandates use of its in app purchase framework may be irrelevant. Comments about this patent suggest it is so broad that, if valid, it would cover any in app purchase mechanism provide by any platform, third-party or written by the developer themselves.

As for asking Apple to help for to no avail, they need to be patient, its been barely a week since this became public. They need to give Apple's legal team time to work out a response. A swift response and positive response from Apple may be welcomed by developers, but risks future financial and legal consequences for all parties in the future.

Re:Apples or any in app purchase (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201864)

Apple owes app developers a swift response. Period. Apple mandates all of this and not at least giving some assurances is ludicrous.

Fuck Apple just plain sucks sometimes.

Re:Apples or any in app purchase (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202500)

Apple owes app developers a swift response. Period. Apple mandates all of this and not at least giving some assurances is ludicrous

So, Apple is responsible for UNFORSEEN consequences, now?

Stupid shit.

Re:Apples or any in app purchase (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202684)

Since Apple is a major user of patent litigation, there's nothing unforseen about it. What's more, since Apple forces tools and platforms on anyone wanting to submit apps to its store, unlike, say, PC development, it has created this risky environment. Since the App Store is a major source of revenue to Apple via taking a cut from developers, it seems ethical and fair that it provide the indemnity to developers.

Re:Apples or any in app purchase (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36205078)

Since Apple is a major user of patent litigation, there's nothing unforseen about it.

And Google never files or participates in patent litigation?

What's more, since Apple forces tools and platforms on anyone wanting to submit apps to its store, unlike, say, PC development, it has created this risky environment.

And of course, all developers are REQUIRED BY LAW to develop for iOS, right?

Since the App Store is a major source of revenue to Apple via taking a cut from developers, it seems ethical and fair that it provide the indemnity to developers.

First: The App Store is not a major source of revenue for Apple. It does a little better than break-even; but it is not like this huge money-maker. Read some Quarterly Reports. Apple by far makes the vast majority of their billions from hardware; not software or services. Plus, you DO realize, of course, that FREE apps are downloaded three times as much as paid apps, right? Where does Apple monetize that "revenue stream", since 30% of zero is...

So, it may seem "ethical" and "fair", to you, no one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to be an iOS developer.

Grow up.

Re:Apples or any in app purchase (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203030)

A "quick" response from Apple legal is a couple weeks. It hasn't been that yet.

Re:Apples or any in app purchase (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203140)

Apple doesn't mandate that anyone develop for their platform, and they certainly don't mandate that anyone create features that use any particular APIs. No one was forced into anything here.

I get your point, but your language is extremely loose.

Re:Apples or any in app purchase (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204936)

I'm guessing you don't work with lawyers regularly. Lawyers and "swift" don't really go together.

Just abolish software patents (3, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201450)

and save yourself all this shit.

Failing that... (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201594)

Failing the abolishment of software patents, the lesson here is that the entire iOS development model spelled trouble. You are required to write your software in a particular way, using particular languages and technologies, and you have to distribute it through the App Store and give Apple a cut of your revenue. Developers should have refused such an agreement, and in the future developers should refuse similar agreements (I have no doubt that we will continue to see companies trying to exert such control over developers).

Re:Failing that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201736)

Remember that these are the same developers who jump up and down the ailes when their god steve jobs releases anything that changes everything every year. My two years old roomba has more balls than these aassholes.

Re:Failing that... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201804)

The problem is, once IOS developers have to start to pay, android developers who use the same thing with their overboard patent will have to start to pay.

no one is yet using windows 7 phone mobile ultimate edition yet but if those apps also use an in app upgrade button they too will fall foul of this patent.

The best bet is to get this patent overturned.

Re:Failing that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36212674)

The problem is, once IOS developers have to start to pay, android developers who use the same thing with their overboard patent will have to start to pay.

Or pool their money and hire a hitman.

Re:Failing that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201986)

, the lesson here is that the entire iOS development model spelled trouble. You are required to write your software in a particular way, using particular languages and technologies, and you have to distribute it through the App Store and give Apple a cut of your revenue.

Android developer here and I'm obviously not trying to defend Apple but it seems like all of the major mobile platforms are this way with the one exception of sideloading apps on Android. With Android, you're stuck with Java, C, or C++ (really Java) and your GUI has to be written using the one true toolkit whatever it's called. WP7 is the same way just Silverlight and you can only distribute through the MS app market store place whatever.

The thing is, there are advantages to this model. One thing, it keeps documentation simple. Any Android book I pick up is going to pretty much directly apply to what I'm already doing. Contrast this to any desktop. On the desktop, where do you start? Do you learn Java, C#, Python, so on and so forth? Do you learn GTK, Qt, tkinter, wxwidgets. What IDE do you use? What if you don't like the tools for your chosen language/toolkit? I'm still having trouble finding something I'm really comfortable developing Python stuff with. The best tools I've found anywhere are the ones set up for Java development. I don't like Java (though I am warming up to it).

At work, I'm working on an Android powered digital catalog/sales platform to be distributed to our sales people on tablets. I don't have to make any choices on how to develop it. I download eclipse and the android sdk and away I go. The given GUI builder leaves a lot to be desired but I guess it makes up for it a little by ease of use. So, my brother knowing I took the time to teach myself programming and having a job doing it, asked me how he should start. Of course, he asked me this after pirating Visual Studio 2010 and fiddling around with the Visual Basic gui builder which is quite nice I admit. But, you know what, I'm not going to be responsible for another VS monkey in the world. I told him to delete that shit, get Eclipse and pydev [pydev.org] and actually learn something not a bunch of drag and drop black box bullshit. When he actually gets a theoretical foundation under his belt, I'll put him on some Android development. By theoretical, I mean input from stdin, a file, and the network, output to stdout, a file and the network, variables, looping, conditionals, functions, objects, string formatting, blah blah blah. The basics.

Yes, I am rambling, yes it is early here, no I have not had more than one cup of coffee. Yes, this is being posted AC. It's the fucking rapture today:)

Re:Failing that... (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202510)

Failing the abolishment of software patents, the lesson here is that the entire iOS development model spelled trouble. You are required to write your software in a particular way, using particular languages and technologies, and you have to distribute it through the App Store and give Apple a cut of your revenue. Developers should have refused such an agreement, and in the future developers should refuse similar agreements (I have no doubt that we will continue to see companies trying to exert such control over developers).

And, like all other adults, YOU are responsible for exercising ordinary diligence BEFORE you decide to develop for a particular way.

Apple is not your parent. Grow up.

Re:Failing that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203310)

In the same vein, Apple is not your child. Stop acting like an over protective helicopter soccer mom. The poor little multi-billion dollar company can handle criticism.

Re:Failing that... (3, Informative)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203322)

Let's see what "ordinary diligence" means according to you, then:

1. You want people to try your software for free, then upgrade to a paying version.

2. You read the Apple developer documentation

3. You find the recommended way to provide this feature, literally documented by Apple, "you should do it this way".

4. You do a full patent review for this and any other silly little feature that your app uses, digging through hundreds of thousands of patents or paying some company tens of thousands of dollars to do this for you, fully aware that you are STILL not sure you aren't violating any unpublished patents.

5. You decide not to release the software since there are way too many applicable patents about the simplest and most obvious little features that really shouldn't be patentable but have been patented nevertheless.

So basically, what you are saying is that everybody should just stop developing software. That's just ordinary diligence.

Re:Failing that... (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36205180)

4. You do a full patent review for this and any other silly little feature that your app uses, digging through hundreds of thousands of patents or paying some company tens of thousands of dollars to do this for you, fully aware that you are STILL not sure you aren't violating any unpublished patents.

5. You decide not to release the software since there are way too many applicable patents about the simplest and most obvious little features that really shouldn't be patentable but have been patented nevertheless.

So basically, what you are saying is that everybody should just stop developing software. That's just ordinary diligence.

So, instead, you want Apple to do all that due diligence for you, and if they cannot forsee every single future occurrence, then THEY get to assume ALL of YOUR risk (even though you are the one the one that:

1. Made the decision to develop for iOS.

2. Made the decision what software to develop.

3. Get the Lion's Share (no pun) of the profits.

So, if you do not wish to accept any personal responsibility for the consequences of your decisions, then yes: You should not be developing software. For anyone.

BTW, would you expect that Google would indemnify you for writing an Android app? Do you expect that Microsoft would indemnify you for writing a WinMobile (or whatever it's called today) app? If the answer to those questions is "No" (and it should be), then why would you expect Apple to be any different? And if your answer would be "Yes", then you are as delusional as the EFF...

Re:Failing that... (1)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36205414)

So, instead, you want Apple to do all that due diligence for you, and if they cannot forsee every single future occurrence, then THEY get to assume ALL of YOUR risk

Except in this instance, it seems to be the case that Apple was successfully trolled by Lodesys and only licensed the patent for themselves, rather than all the downstream developers they knew they were distributing software too.

To my mind, that's a clear demonstration of bad faith and I would hope that these independent App Store developers manage to get something out of Apple.

Re:Just abolish software patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201972)

My simple solution:
In MAFIAA countries, I am officially a reseller of software(-producing) services.
Unofficially, I'm a software developer.

As a reseller, I just sell links to torrents. I state that these files can only be used according to the laws you obey. I do not know, where these come from.
That's all.

As a developer, I rather die than obey any delusion about the possibility of ownership of information. Because I have proven countless times, that that is physically impossible for information that can be proven to exist.
So I write whatever I like, and remix whatever I want, and make it into a torrent.
But whenever I use the valuable (as opposed to a trivial patent or bullshit copyright) works of others, I add a virtual tip of my hat to all of them. If possible, I also add a way for the user, to support those people. (Never companies. Always [groups or or single] individuals.)
That's all.

Additionally, my country doesn't have any software patent laws.

Obviously, I plan on switching to something where the original IP address can not be traced back to me, as soon as software patents would become law.

Re:Just abolish software patents (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201974)

I think that's the consensus from the tech industry. These companies have no intention of legitimately profiting from their patents. They are not acting in good faith with these patents. You want to talk about stifling innovation? These guys are. This is comparable to cyber squatting and legislature needs to open their eyes to it.

Re:Just abolish software patents (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202530)

its not because those companies are not 'honestly' profiting from their patents. its that the system is crooked from the start.

thought is a fluid thing that changes shape and leads to other thought. once you allow ownership of any thought, it creates chain reactions.

Apple vs EFF? (1, Offtopic)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201458)

As soon as I saw the headline I thought "What is the EFF on Apple's case for this time?". If I had an annoying neighbor that harassed me about the length of my grass, the hours I mowed the lawn, how many cars I had parked in the drive way, etc. I'd sure as hell ignore him when he came over asking for help.

Re:Apple vs EFF? (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201554)

The EFF doesn't need Apple's help, the developers who write the apps that make the iP* platforms a success do.

But maybe when they lose and developers at large start being afraid of writing apps for their platforms maybe Apple will notice.

Re:Apple vs EFF? (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202638)

The EFF doesn't need Apple's help, the developers who write the apps that make the iP* platforms a success do.

But maybe when they lose and developers at large start being afraid of writing apps for their platforms maybe Apple will notice.

First they came for the iOS developers, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't an iOS developer... [apologies to Pastor Martin Neimoller]

Mod parent insightful (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203342)

Exactly

Re:Apple vs EFF? (3, Insightful)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202066)

"If I had an annoying neighbor that harassed me about the length of my grass, the hours I mowed the lawn, how many cars I had parked in the drive way, etc..."

...and he came over to let you know someone was burgling your garage, you would tell him to fuck right off, because he's annoying?

Re:Apple vs EFF? (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203596)

Agreed, and I think it speaks very well of the EFF that they're still helping Apple in spite of their past attitude.

deities cede control of outer space in arms deal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201470)

even more theater is anticipated evidenced by our rulers allowing the nonsensical (eye off the ball) end of world hysteria to flood their highly controlled mainstream media, while continuing to avoid telling us the truth about anything at all. you can call this 'weather' if it makes you feel better. took the kids & the dog out for our previously constitutional walk. it's like a frozen ice storm flood here today, the kids took the dog home. we're going a bit further, as it may be like this more or less often, deepending on how many too many of us is still alive, by the god given authority of the passover holycost chosen ones, & their fleeing under fire, suicidal minions.

Don't do it Apple! (2, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201496)

Apple! You are never wrong! Everything that is done by Apple is done under a grand design. Apple developers need to "be tested" from time to time to prove their loyalty and fidelity. Of course, if they have been sinning, this is not a test, but a punishment.

fathers moiety to be explained (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201526)

the thinking is that as all the big religions have histories of clergical mopery, that it must have been god's will, so there we go.

the never ending holycost iss mowing right along, as it was written, & re-written by our neogod rulers, to be foistered upon us, over & over, until we cause them to stop killing everything, claiming that it's both god & our 'will'. right.

They Sue Developers, Don't They? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201532)

I'm more of an idiot caveman than anything else but IF Apple did not "force" developers to use the in-app purchasing, and the update feature (which is what I understood the gist of the threat is about) then wouldn't each of the developers be forced to deal with this company anyhow?

Unless I'm wrong, even if developers of apps do go it alone, without using Apple or Google or whatever, the patent claim still applies to most applications that connect to the web for updates and purchases. It would seem like every bit of shareware (try before you buy) would be effected, too.

So, while castigating Apple seems inevitable and not off the mark, the fact is this company really wants even the smallest of companies to pony up for this in app purchase/ update function.

Tax laws (3, Interesting)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201614)

You know when one posts an app to the App store they are first required to fill out tax information including whether or not Apple should withhold for taxes.

Couldn't it be argued that app developers are in effect employees of Apple and already indemnified?

For example if IBM has a license to use a patent, and they call in an outside contractor to work on a project using that patent... you couldn't sue the contractor since he was working for IBM.

Re:Tax laws (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201634)

That is something the courts will have to decide, and the problem is that many developers lack the means to actually fight Lodsys in court. Yes, all it would take is one, but Lodsys is asking for a small fraction of the developers' revenue, and most if not all will either acquiesce or just ditch iOS for a platform that gives them a little more freedom.

Re:Tax laws (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201668)

ditch iOS? Then I guess Apple will just buy the patent troll to keep developers.

Re:Tax laws (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202804)

At which point, patent trolling within these forms of common distribution setups like the app store becomes a potential cash cow business model for such unethical companies.

This would NOT be in their best interest at all.

Re:Tax laws (4, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201760)

Apple does not withhold taxes in the US.

I filled out the US tax form. What will be my tax treaty withholding rate?

Apple does not withhold taxes from proceeds paid from sales on the U.S. Store. See the IRS website for more information about types of income subject to U.S. withholding tax and withholding rates under tax treaties.

Will Apple send a U.S. Tax Form 1099 for my sales?

No. Sales on the App Store are sales by you, the developer of copyrighted works, to end users. Therefore, Apple takes the position that payments made to you for these sales are payments for products or goods, which are specifically exempt from reporting on Form 1099 even though the payments may be taxable income to you.

You are responsible for determining your own tax obligations with respect to these payments. If you are uncertain of your tax obligations, we recommend that you consult with a tax professional.

You could argue that third party app developers are actually employees. You can also argue that wearing Nike shoes makes you a Nike employee.

Re:Tax laws (2)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201902)

Depends on the contractor. If it's an independent contractor than yes you can sue them, they are responsible for their own actions, but companies are not suppose to take taxes out of the pay of independent contractors either and if Apple is taking taxes then that would make them employees

Re:Tax laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36202134)

That is why many companies insist on their contractors having at least $10M in professional indemnity insurace cover.

Re:Tax laws (2)

GauteL (29207) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202224)

"Couldn't it be argued that app developers are in effect employees of Apple and already indemnified?"

Eh.. in which case all the copyright for the apps would belong to Apple, the employer. You can hardly have it both ways, "oh, we're only employees of Apple in terms of patent disputes....", so I doubt this is a path app developers would like to pursue.

what will the fanboys say?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201644)

If Apple steps up to the plate and really does try to help developers, what will all the fanboys say about it? Most of them are used to getting the wool pulled over their eyes on overpriced equipment and "shiny" new versions of the same piece of hardware.

If Apple actually tried to help someone other than Apple for a change i would be totally shocked

Re:what will the fanboys say?? (2)

SilenceBE (1439827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202228)

What will the haters say when Apple are investigating the Lodsys patent and what they can do ? Oh that is right they are doing this at the moment.

Apple studies patent infringement claims by Lodsys [guardian.co.uk]

But then again it is slashdot where hate and FUD prevails over truth and logic. Funny how Microsoft tactics and shenanigans are so popular within the slashdot crowd.

Oh and btw Google and Microsoft also has a license (like Apple) so thinking this is only or could be only an IOS/Apple problem is very very naive.

In a series of blog posts, the company notes that Google and Microsoft have taken out licences, but notes that "so far no one has asked" whether apps written on those platforms might be liable for licence fees.

Oh boy I can't wait for the typical slashdot hypocricy when the first android or WM7 developers are getting sued by Lodsys. Chairs will fly in a lot of basements.

If Apple actually tried to help someone other than Apple for a change i would be totally shocked

Yeah I really hate it when they try to force and create their own closed standards. All their products are infested with it. They don't give anything back, never submits something as an open standard they are just pure evil.

what a difference 1.5 hours make (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201658)

the temp. has creeped up about 40 degrees, & it looks like tropical storms brewing here in nny. saw an (low) est. 5 lb. grey/green frog with some white fungus on it's back. it did not seem distressed, or very alive. never saw anything like that yet. animals being terrorized with unproven WMD? it looks really bad for the giant frog, but we're ok?

If I where google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201662)

I'd go to court, have this trivial patent sent to /dev/null and win the hearts of the developers. With Apple not caring enough to do anything about it, Lodsys is probably going to sue the hell out of a few 16 year old nerds first, setting a precedent in court and android will be next anyway.

Apple gave the ammunition (0)

aitan (948581) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201800)

If apple wanted to help third party developers, then it wouldn't have signed a deal with Lloyds or would have made sure that every ios app was covered with that license
failing to do so just meant that they don't care about the developers

So buy a license. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202100)

The patent can be licensed for 0.575% of revenue. Apple, on the other hand, demands 30% of third-party sales revenue for a transaction which doesn't involve them.

Re:So buy a license. (3, Insightful)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203384)

Why not?

0.575% for having an update mechanism
0.575% for a button that displays settings
0.575% for using a different color for certain text
etc...

This has to be stopped before it goes to far (which it already has).

Re:So buy a license. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36205266)

This works out to be about $5750 for every $1,000,000 or for the typical app of $2 this is 1.15 cents per app license sold. This sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Re:So buy a license. (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36206800)

Read my previous post again. If patent trolls start sending similar demands for a hundred or so equally silly features, you won't have much profit left anymore.

And the fact that it's only a small percentage, does not automatically make it reasonable. Hey, I just patented a way to hold an umbrella. Next time it rains, I'm going to demand a quarter from each and every pedestrian carrying an umbrella that way. Hey, it's only a quarter, that's pretty reasonable, right?

Why is this patent not yet invalidated? (4, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202264)

This patent needs killed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_elements_test [wikipedia.org]

It fails the obviousness test, and it also fails prior art. After all, the button is merely a hyperlink to an app purchase page, and that has been present in shareware and trialware applications for nearly two full decades, and that in itself is a very minor update over older shareware which displayed an ASCII order form which cvould be printed and mailed to the vendor to purchase the full version of the application.

This is not an invention deserving protection as patent law defines it, and this patent surely does not meet the Constitutional guideline:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

because granting a government-enforced monopoly on prior art does not "promote the progress of Science and useful Arts" but hinders such progress.

I'd love to choke the hell out of the next wank who takes an old idea and files a patent for "$foo, on a $bar device" then sues all the little guys using that prior art. Unfortunately killing those who need killing is illegal these days. Progress is great and all, but isn't it nice sometimes to dream of frontier law making a comeback?

This is why China and everyone else is leaping ahead: American companies have long since forgotten the principle of long term investments and real engineering and science R&D but have instead decided to become bottom feeders and litigate rather than innovate, and pat themselves on the back for calling litigation innovation. Disgusting. I often wonder if I should go back to school and become an attorney so I can fight against the insanity of IP law.

Re:Why is this patent not yet invalidated? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203080)

This patent needs killed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_elements_test [wikipedia.org]

It fails the obviousness test, and it also fails prior art.

See, you start by citing the all elements test, so it makes me think you know what you're talking about, and then you say it "fails prior art." What does that even mean?

Is this obvious over prior art? If so, what art? What reference or combination of references teaches or suggests each and every element of the claims?

After all, the button is merely a hyperlink to an app purchase page, and that has been present in shareware and trialware applications for nearly two full decades, and that in itself is a very minor update over older shareware which displayed an ASCII order form which cvould be printed and mailed to the vendor to purchase the full version of the application.

And if the claim was "1. A button" or "1. A hyperlink to an app purchase page," you'd be right, but it's not. The "all elements" test is named that because it refers to "all elements in the claims".

I'd love to choke the hell out of the next wank who takes an old idea and files a patent for "$foo, on a $bar device" then sues all the little guys using that prior art.

Is $foo known? Is $bar known? Then the combination - "all elements" - is unpatentable. But, contrary to your beliefs, there are no patents that claim "$foo, on a $bar device."

I often wonder if I should go back to school and become an attorney so I can fight against the insanity of IP law.

It would be a good start. Learning about what you're arguing about is always a good start.

Re:Why is this patent not yet invalidated? (1)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203484)

I'd love to choke the hell out of the next wank who takes an old idea and files a patent for "$foo, on a $bar device" then sues all the little guys using that prior art.

Is $foo known? Is $bar known? Then the combination - "all elements" - is unpatentable. But, contrary to your beliefs, there are no patents that claim "$foo, on a $bar device."

Oh yeah? What about all those patents on doing $foo on the internet? or on the web? or on a wireless device?

I do not know what is written in patent law, but in practice obvious combinations of known things are patented all the time, such as "using $foo to solve problem $bar" when $foo is one of the first couple things that an engineer would think of when faced with problem $bar. I recall reading a patent on using regular expressions and logical operators (I kid you not) to do network intrusion detection.

Re:Why is this patent not yet invalidated? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204632)

I'd love to choke the hell out of the next wank who takes an old idea and files a patent for "$foo, on a $bar device" then sues all the little guys using that prior art.

Is $foo known? Is $bar known? Then the combination - "all elements" - is unpatentable. But, contrary to your beliefs, there are no patents that claim "$foo, on a $bar device."

Oh yeah? What about all those patents on doing $foo on the internet? or on the web? or on a wireless device?

There aren't any. Period.

There are some patents which have dependent claims that say "2. The method of claim 1, but wherein the network is the Internet," but that's just a narrowing of claim 1. This is a doctrine known as claim differentiation - if claim 1 says "A method of doing X via a network," and claim 2 says the network is the Internet, then all that means is that claim 1 is broader and may include non-Internet networks. That's it - the dependent claim is within the scope of the independent claim.

And the independent claim isn't something known like $foo. It's novel and nonobvious on its own. Claim 2 may not be nonobvious over claim 1, but is nonobvious over everything other than the invention. Which is the point.

So, in summary, no. There are no patents on $foo, but on the Internet, where $foo is known. I do not know what is written in patent law, but in practice obvious combinations of known things are patented all the time, such as "using $foo to solve problem $bar" when $foo is one of the first couple things that an engineer would think of when faced with problem $bar. I recall reading a patent on using regular expressions and logical operators (I kid you not) to do network intrusion detection.

Re:Why is this patent not yet invalidated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203626)

This patent needs killed.

Agh! Pittsburgh grammar needs to be unlearned!

Re:Why is this patent not yet invalidated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36205858)

Could this be a form prior art?
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/GameLine

I'll have to ask you to forgive my ignorance with these next few questions;
unfortunately, I'm not especially familiar with either US law, or the USPTO.
(I know that many here are intimately familiar with the details of these
things, but I guess that many more are just as confused as I am)

1) Is there a site people can go to to submit potential forms of prior art?

2) Is there a way that a patent can be invalidated (due to obviousness, or the existence of prior art, for example)
        without somebody having to go through the time and expense of a costly lawsuit?

3) When a patent appears to be flagrantly abusing the system, or when a patent is so broad, general or obvious
        for it so be absurd, can some kind of appeal be made to the USPTO? Can information be provided to them
        that would, in effect, prompt them to say "oops, my bad", and consider stamping "CANCELLED" on the offending patent?

And for any of the above questions:

4) If not, why not? And what can we do about it?

I say we, despite not being a US Citizen, because this kind of thing obviously affects anyone who does business
in your country. What makes this whole ordeal all the more frustrating is that it seems that everybody's hands
seem to be tied. How can rational thought be sidelined so easily? And how did it even get to this point?
I wonder what US citizens can do to help the matter. And is there anything at all that non-citizens can do to help?

And finally:

5) Is going through a costly legal defense truly the ONLY way to invalidate such ridiculous patents? And if so..

6) What kind of expense would a foreign company (lets say a small developer, like any of those already 'lodsysed' with
          this particular patent).. what kind of cost risk would such a company or individual be exposing themselves to if they
        were to stand up and fight? If they were willing (and somehow able) to put, say, $100,000 into it.. would that be enough?
        And, although it's hardly fair to demand support from the community, I wonder how likely it would be for people
        to support that company in such a fight.

Thanks for reading.

All the EFF wants (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202880)

Is some more donations, I wonder how many 10$ cardboard bricks apple will buy

Re:All the EFF wants (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36329352)

Judging by the summary title, all they want is juice.

Why did they? (1)

ggpauly (263626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36205428)

Why is EFF concerned about how a closed-everything company treats its associates? How is this EFF's concern?

Gradn scheme of things (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 3 years ago | (#36207554)

To me, Apple seems to have started on another "program" to get rid of third party involvement with their platform, just like they did when they removed 3rd party hardware developers. Except this time it's 3rd party software developers. The barriers they put in front of them are staggering, and they seem to be an euphemistic way of telling them "get out of here, we don't want you"

Perhaps it's all another grand plan conceived by Steve Jobs.

Why are you still allowing software patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36208072)

Until the USA eliminates software patents, or moves any software patentable claims out from the patent office to some other temporary institution, the USA developers and their employers are going to be at risk. Belinski from Red Hat will eventually be reviewed. So, right now offshore developers have the upper hand. They do not recognize software patents, and they will sell their software from websites located outside of the USA or questionable patent holder's jurisdiction. Developers, corporations, and citizens alike. Get off your lazy chair and do something. Complaining about it is inaction. You need to react. You need to find a publicity corporation that will lobby and blitz the web and TV with the problems. Do it with attack adds, they way you attack innocent politicians. And don't lie, but stress the harm to Americans and their jobs.

Wow, grow UP developers (0)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221562)

So, you didn't do your research and violated a patent

Now you expect Apple to bail you out?

Why doesn't anyone just buy a license? It's painfully cheap, something alone the lines of a COUPLE CENTS per app sold for a $2 app.

I guess we should just allow the 'little guys' to replicate patent functionality as much as they want without fear of consequences. Talk about stopping innovation... nobody will bother with innovation anymore because it no longer would be profitable.. because any functionality you devise could be easily replicated and copied by anyone willing to undercut you. There is a reason we have patents..

Buy a goddamn license and stop whining to apple to bail you out, jesus. You're big boys making big money from the app store, you can take care of yourself.

Otherwise, remove the in-app upgrade from your application.

It's really that simple.

troubling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36222394)

This is indeed a troubling trend -- the fact that MacroSolve and Lodsys are filing patent enforcement [industryweek.com] actions against one-person app development shops, rather than against the "deep-pockets" targets like Google and Apple, does not bode well for the future of innovation. Such lawsuits will inevitably discourage some small-scale developers from continuing their work, which will in turn deprive consumers of technological advances. What a shame.

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