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Lodsys Sues 7 iPhone Devs Over Patent Infringement Claims

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the all-very-horatio-alger-villain dept.

IOS 123

Dachannien writes "Patently-O and Ars Technica report that Lodsys has filed suit [here's the complaint] in the Eastern District of Texas against seven iPhone developers, asserting that the defendants are infringing two patents. Apple had previously indicated their belief that all iPhone developers are protected by a licensing agreement that Apple had made with the patents' former assignee, Intellectual Ventures. But Lodsys insists that the defendants are nonetheless liable for infringement. Still an open question is whether Apple will go beyond the mailing of strongly worded letters in defending third-party iPhone devs."

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I like big butts and I can not lie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36322940)

This has nothing to do with this thread, but would you just listen to me for a little bit? See, I went to the local Yoshinoya today. Right. Yoshinoya. And the damn place was packed so full of people, I couldn't even find a seat. So I looked around a bit, and I found a sign that said "150 yen off". What the hell is wrong with you people? Are you idiots or something? Any other day you wouldn't even think of going to Yoshinoya, but if it's 150 yen off, you all flock in here? It's just 150 fucking yen! 150 yen! And you're bringing the kids too. Look at that, a family of four going to Yoshinoya. Con-fucking-gratulations. And now the guy's going, "All right! Daddy's going to order the extra-large!" Shit, I can't watch any more of this.

Yoshinoya should be fucking brutal. Two guys sit facing each other across a U-shaped table, and you never quite know if they'll suddenly just start a fight right there. It's stab-or-be-stabbed, and that's what so damn great about the place. Women and kids should stay the fuck away.

Well, I finally found a seat, but then the guy next to me goes, "I'll have a large bowl with extra gravy!". So now I'm pissed off again. Who the fuck orders extra gravy these days? Why are you looking so goddamn proud when you say that? I was gonna ask you, are you really going to fucking eat all that gravy? I wanted to fucking interrogate you. For about a fucking hour. You know what? I think you just wanted to say "extra gravy".

Now, take it from the Yoshinoya veteran. The latest thing among the Yoshinoya pros is this: Extra green onions. That's the ticket. A large bowl with extra onions, and egg. This is what someone who knows his shit orders. They put in more onions, and less meat. A large bowl with the raw egg, that's really fucking awesome. Now, you should know, if you keep ordering this, there's a risk employees might write you up. This really is a double-edged sword. I really can't recommend this for amateurs.

Re:I like big butts and I can not lie (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323752)

Now, I know that there is a lot of embellishment that occurs on this group and I am aware that a small number of things are perhaps sheer fabrication, but I have a story to tell that is the absolute truth. Funniest damn thing that has ever happened to me.

A couple of weeks ago we decided to cruise out to Ryan's Steakhouse for dinner. It was a Wednesday night which means that macaroni and beef was on the hot bar, indeed the only night of the week that it is served. Wednesday night is also kid's night at Ryan's, complete with Dizzy the Clown wandering from table to table entertaining the little bastards. It may seem that the events about to be told have little connection to those two circumstances, but all will be clear in a moment.

We went through the line and placed our orders for the all-you-can-eat hot bar then sat down as far away from the front of the restaurant as possible in order to keep the density of kids down a bit. Then I started my move to the hot bar. Plate after plate of macaroni and beef were consumed that evening, I tell you -- in all, four heaping plates of the pseudo-Italian ambrosia were shoved into my belly. I was sated. Perhaps a bit too much, however.

I had not really been feeling well all day, what with a bit of gas and such. By the time I had eaten four overwhelmed plates of food, I was in real trouble. There was so much pressure on my diaphragm that I was having trouble breathing. At the same time, the downward pressure was building. At first, I thought it was only gas which could have been passed in batches right at the table without to much concern. Unfortunately, that was not to be. After a minute or so it was clear that I was dealing with explosive diarrhea. It's amazing how grease can make its way through your intestines far faster than the food which spawned the grease to begin with, but I digress...

I got up from the table and made my way to the bathroom. Upon entering, I saw two sinks immediately inside the door, two urinals just to the right of the sinks, and two toilet stalls against the back wall. One of them was a handicapped bathroom. Now, normally I would have gone to the handicapped stall since I like to stretch out a bit when I take a good shit, but in this case, the door lock was broken and the only thing I hate worse than my wife telling me to stop cutting my toenails with a pair of diagonal wire cutters is having someone walk in on me while I am taking a shit. I went to the normal stall.

In retrospect, I probably should have gone to the large, handicapped stall even though the door would not lock because that bit of time lost in making the stall switch proved to be a bit too long under the circumstances. By the time I had walked into the regular stall, the pressure on my ass was reaching Biblical proportions.

I began "The Move."

For those women who may be reading this, let me take a moment to explain "The Move." Men know exactly what their bowels are up to at any given second. And when the time comes to empty the cache, a sequence of physiological events occur that can not be stopped under any circumstances. There is a move men make that involves simultaneously approaching the toilet, beginning the body turn to position ones ass toward said toilet, hooking ones fingers into ones waistline, and pulling down the pants while beginning the squat at the same time. It is a very fluid motion that, when performed properly, results in the flawless expulsion of shit at the exact same second that ones ass is properly placed on the toilet seat. Done properly, it even assures that the choad is properly inserted into the front rim of the toilet in the event that the piss stream lets loose at the same time; it is truly a picture of coordination rivaling that of a skilled ballet dancer.

I was about half-way into "The Move" when I looked down at the floor and saw a pile of vomit that had been previously expelled by one of those little bastards attending kids night; it was mounded up in the corner so I did not notice it when I had first walked into the stall. Normally, I would not have been bothered by such a thing, but I had eaten so much and the pressure upward was so intense, that I hit a rarely experienced gag reflex. And once that reflex started, combined with the intense pressure upward caused by the bloated stomach, four plates of macaroni and beef started coming up for a rematch. What happened next was so quick that the exact sequence of events are a bit fuzzy, but I will try to reconstruct them as best I can.

In that moment of impending projectile vomiting, my attention was diverted from the goings-on at the other end. To put a freeze frame on the situation, I was half crotched down to the toilet, pants pulled down to my knees, with a load of vomit coming up my esophagus. Now, most of you know that vomiting takes precedence over shit no matter what is about to come slamming out of your ass. It is apparently an evolutionary thing since shitting will not kill you, but vomiting takes a presence of mind to accomplish so that you do not aspirate any food into the bronchial tubes and perhaps choke to death. My attention was thus diverted.

At that very split second, my ass exploded in what can only be described as a wake...you know, as in a newspaper headline along the lines of "30,000 Killed In Wake of Typhoon Fifi" or something similar. In what seemed to be most suitably measured in cubic feet, an enormous plug of shit the consistency of thick mud with embedded pockets of greasy liquid came flying out of my ass. But remember, I was only half-way down on the toilet at that moment. The shit wave was of such force and of just such an angle in relation to the back curve of the toilet seat that it ricocheted off the back of the seat and slammed into the wall at an angle of incidence equal to the angle at which it initially hit the toilet seat. Then I sat down.

Recall that when that event occurred, I was already half-way to sitting anyway and had actually reached the point of no return. I have always considered myself as relatively stable gravitationally, but when you get beyond a certain point, you're going down no matter how limber you may be. Needless to say, the shit wave, though of considerable force, was not so sufficient so as to completely glance off the toilet seat and deposit itself on the walls, like what you would see when hitting a puddle with a high-pressure water hose; even though you throw water at the puddle, the puddle gets moved and no water is left to re-form a puddle. There was a significant amount of shit remaining on about one-third of the seat rim which I had now just collapsed upon.

Now, back to the vomit...

While all the shitting was going on, the vomit was still on its way up. By the time I had actually collapsed on the toilet, my mouth had filled up with a goodly portion of the macaroni and beef I had just consumed. OK, so what does the human body instinctively do when vomiting? One bends over. So I bent over. I was still sitting on the toilet, though. Therefore, bending over resulted in me placing my head above my now slightly-opened legs, positioned in between my knees and waist. Also directly above my pants which were now pulled down to a point just midway between my knees and my ankles. Oh, did I mention that I was wearing not just pants, but sweat pants with elastic on the ankles.

In one mighty push, some three pounds of macaroni and beef, two or three Cokes, and a couple of Big, Fat Yeast Rolls were deposited in my pants...on the inside...with no ready exit at the bottom down by my feet.

In the next several seconds, there were a handful of farts, a couple of turds, and the event ended, yet I was now sitting there with my pants full of vomit, my back covered in shit that had bounced off the toilet, spattered on three ceramic-tiled walls to a height of about five feet, and still had enough force to come back at me, covering the back of my shirt with droplets of liquid shit. All while thick shit was spread all over my ass in a ring curiously in the shape of a toilet seat.

And there was no fucking toilet paper.

What could I do but laugh. I must have sounded like a complete maniac to the guy who then wandered into the bathroom. He actually asked if I was OK since I was laughing so hard I must have sounded like I was crying hysterically. I calmed down just enough to ask him if he would get the manager. And told him to have the manager bring some toilet paper. When the manager walked in, he brought the toilet paper with him, but in no way was prepared for what happened next. I simply told him that there was no way I was going to explain what was happening in the stall, but that I needed several wet towels and I needed him to go ask my wife to come help me. I told him where we were sitting and he left. At that point, I think he was probably assuming that I had pissed just a bit in my pants or something similarly benign.

About two minutes later, my wife came into the bathroom not knowing what was wrong and with a certain amount of worry in her voice. I explained to her (still laughing and having trouble getting out words) that I had a slight accident and needed her help. Knowing that I had experienced some close calls in the past, she probably assumed that I had laid down a small turd or something and just needed to bring the car around so we could bolt immediately. Until I asked her, I'm sure she had no idea that she was about to go across the street and purchase me new underwear, new socks, new pants, a new shirt, and (by that time due to considerable leakage around the elastic ankles thingies) new sneakers. And she then started to laugh herself since I was still laughing. She began to ask for an explanation as to what had happened when I promised her that I would tell her later, but that I just needed to handle damage control for the time being. She left.

The manager then came back in with a half-dozen wet towels and a few dry ones. I asked him to also bring a mop and bucket upon which he assured me that they would clean up anything that needed to be cleaned. Without giving him specific details, I explained that what was going on in that stall that night was far in excess of what I would expect anyone to deal with, what with most of the folks working at Ryan's making minimum wage of just slightly above. At that moment, I think it dawned on him exactly the gravity of the situation. Then that manager went so far above the call of duty that I will be eternally grateful for his actions. He hooked up a hose.

Fortunately, commercial bathrooms are constructed with tile walls and tile floors and have a drain in the middle of the room in order to make clean up easy. Fortunately, I was in a commercial bathroom. He hooked up the hose to the spigot located under the sink as I began cleaning myself up with the wet towels. Just as I was finishing, my wife got back with the new clothes and passed them into the stall, whereupon I stuffed the previously worn clothing into the plastic bag that came from the store, handing the bag to my wife. I finished cleaning myself off and carefully put on my new clothes, still stuck in the stall since I figured that it would be in bad taste to go out of the stall to get redressed in the event I happened to be standing there naked and some little bastard kid walked in. At that point, I had only made a mess; I had not yet committed a felony and intended to keep it that way.

When I finished getting dressed, I picked up the hose and cleaned up the entire stall, washing down the remains toward the drain in the center of the room. I put down the hose and walked out of the bathroom. I had intended to go to the manager and thank him for all he had done, but when I walked out, three of the management staff were there to greet me with a standing ovation. I started laughing so hard that I thought I was going to throw up again, but managed to scurry out to the car where my wife was now waiting to pick me up by the front door.

The upshot of all this is that I strongly recommend eating dinner at Ryan's Steak House. They have, by far, the nicest management staff of any restaurant in which I have eaten.

Location, location, location (4, Insightful)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 3 years ago | (#36322974)

They're filing in the Eastern District of Texas, you say? What a shock!

Re:Location, location, location (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323034)

can we nuke the thing?

aren't there any rules where you should file?

Re:Location, location, location (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323184)

We need to get a bunch of nerds to move to East Texas and try to get on as many patent infringement juries as possible.

Re:Location, location, location (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323890)

We need to get a bunch of nerds to move to East Texas and try to get on as many patent infringement juries as possible.

Why the hate? What have nerds done to you that makes you want to punish them in that way?

Re:Location, location, location (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325816)

We're not hating, we're just asking them to make this sacrifice for the greater good. They will be remembered as heroes.

Re:Location, location, location (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#36326192)

...The Greater Good...

Re:Location, location, location (1)

oddaddresstrap (702574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36326252)

We're not hating, we're just asking them to make this sacrifice for the greater good. They will be remembered as martyrs.

FTFY

Re:Location, location, location (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36326012)

East Texas is a nice place. I'm trying to think of places I've liked better - ohhhh - the Cascade Mountains, Nova Scotia, Alaska, Montana, Scotland, West Texas, maybe a couple of others. East Texas isn't my first choice for a retirement home, but it comes in a LONG way ahead of Florida, Massachussets, California, Arizona, Virginia, or several other states.

While you're busy hating on Texans, maybe you should look in your own backyard, maybe do a little investigating. There are plenty of douches living in YOUR home town, your county, your state. Or - do you happen to agree with all the laws to which you are subject?

In short, don't be a douche.

Re:Location, location, location (1)

Zomalaja (1324199) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323194)

From the scribd link of the suit:
"Lodsys is a Texas limited liability company with its principal place of business in Marshall, Texas". which is, of all things, in Eastern Texas. What a coincidence!

Re:Location, location, location (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325824)

Most patent troll companies are. I wonder why that is...

Re:Location, location, location (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323238)

Countersue... in Nome, Alaska!

Re:Location, location, location (2)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324252)

In the best case scenario, the suit is being filed now because on September 1 companies like Lodsys could be liable for all costs if they lose. While the lose pays legislation is primarily an attack on individuals, a blatant effort to remove the one power a person has against harm by a corporations, the side effect could be to stop these frivolous patent lawsuits. We will see how the Texas courts write the rules. It could be written merely to protect the corporation that accidentally kills an infant due to faulty design of a crib, or it could be written more broadly to protect the lawsuits against individuals that distribute negative information about corporations. As I said, the best case scenario is that it will stop the patent trolls from using East Texas as a easy way to litigate protection money.

Re:Location, location, location (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324550)

That is a state tort reform law, this is a federal lawsuit.. don't think that'll work for patent cases.

Re:Location, location, location (1)

jscotta44 (881299) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325346)

It is a Federal court and not subject to the State of Texas rules on loser pays.

Innovation! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323000)

Ah yes, Apple, the great innovator.

Re:Innovation! (0)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323060)

I was wondering when the folks who didn't even read the summary but were still going to post bashing Apple would get here. Second post, well done sir.

Re:Innovation! (0)

revscat (35618) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323156)

Now the only thing left is a homophobic reference about Steve Jobs.

Re:Innovation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323248)

And we could use a post in which we're informed that Apple users pay a fortune for pretty boxes. Bonus points if they compare their homebuilt gravy-cooled geekbox running a fork of Minix to the type of thing regular and sexually active consumers would want.

Re:Innovation! (0)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323340)

Have you seen what most people (at least in the USA) eat these days? I hardly think many of them are regular...

Re:Innovation! (-1, Troll)

Sniper98G (1078397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323392)

Steve jobs is probably to busy sticking an iphone up his gay lover's butt to care about this.

Nailed it!

Re:Innovation! (-1, Offtopic)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324240)

Idiot mods, look at the context. At best it's offtopic.

Re:Innovation! (0)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36326022)

Homophobic reference to Steve? I would - but I ain't scared of that little queer!

I would hope apple will defend. (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323012)

A loss to developers due to legal actions could cause a chilling effect towards making iOS application. Developers have to go threw the hassle of approval to make sure their product is good. Then pay Apple 20% of their profits and not having legal protection from Apple would make developers go towards android where at least they can get their software out easier.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (2)

DJCouchyCouch (622482) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323044)

They are also targeting Android developers. It's not a safe haven.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323874)

Until Congress realizes just how goddamned toxic software patents are, there will be no such thing as a safe haven. I don't do a lot of development any more, but I'd be hesitant about getting into the game at all, at least for anything with wide distribution. I'm not even sure you could write hello.c any more without some patent troll trying to nail you with "a program that outputs the phrase 'hello world' through standard output".

Fucking ludicrous. How could the judiciary and the politicians let it get this bad?

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324802)

> judiciary and the politicians let it get this bad?

Because they aren't affected. Once someone patents "system for searching legal precedents on a mobile device" or "method of communicating with voters via a network" and sues their ass they will wake up.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324808)

Uh, the judiciary and the politicians work directly for the very people who want it to be this bad, and even worse.

The rest of us are just profit-fodder that should be forced to accept whatever terms the aristocracy is pleased to present.

While it is very economically healthy to have lots of independent developers producing disruptive new technologies, that same phenomena is very harmful to the producers of the already-established technologies. So the wealthiest among us have every incentive to do everything within their power to prevent everyone else from ever developing something new.

None of this should be surprising to anyone who is paying attention.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (3, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323074)

Err, before pronouncing doom and gloom upon all things Apple, you may want to think ahead a bit... this patent appears sufficiently broad enough so that Android and WP7 developers may well be next.

Personally, while Apple does need to get it in gear and provide as much aid as possible (can 'tortious interference' be a case here if Apple were indeed to sue Lodsys?), Microsoft and Google may *very* well want to get off their butts and at least start making moves to protect their own dev stables.

PS: Even worst-case, this would be a chilling effect only if your iPhone app included an in-app payment system.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

TheNucleon (865817) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323912)

"PS: Even worst-case, this would be a chilling effect only if your iPhone app included an in-app payment system."

While I agree with most of your post, I don't agree with this last point. I've been warming up to be an indie dev on mobile devices, and this chills my enthusiasm in a very general way. I don't know when some butt-munch is going to pull a bogus patent out of their pocket and sue me over something that should never even have been granted a patent, let alone cost me legal fees to defend against. It's like a minefield now, and it is really going to be a serious impediment to innovation. We need to collectively tell the government to knock this stuff off, and fast, lest we find ourselves in the technology wastebasket soon.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324256)

Life is full of risks. The odds of being hit with a patent lawsuit are low, and generally even if you lose, the impact is minimal (not that I agree with Lodsys at all, but even worst case, they are asking for a very small percentage). After all, what good is a parasite that kills its host? Better to keep it alive to milk indefinitely.

Anyway, my point is if you are shying away from doing something because you *might* meet with adversity, you are doing it wrong.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36325022)

Exactly. Chinese companies don't deal with this shit. They are free to steal from Western firms without their domestic firms stomping on each other in some rural province.

While the US has the pissing contests, China, Brazil, Russia, and other companies are innovating.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325140)

this patent appears sufficiently broad enough so that Android and WP7 developers may well be next.

The question is whether Google and MS will indemnify device manufacturers for the use of their OS.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (2)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323078)

Android devs would be on the hook for this as well if it goes through. The patent basically covers any and all in-app purchasing. Lodsys has clearly stated the licensing Apple and Google have paid does not cover 3rd party developers.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323134)

Then what precisely did Google and Apple receive when they paid the licensing fee?

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323404)

Then what precisely did Google and Apple receive when they paid the licensing fee?

I don't know about Google, but seeing as Apple won't disclose the terms of the agreement - maybe they're not allowed to - we can only guess.

And as guesses go, this seems reasonable, albeit short-sighted by on the part of Google/Apple if it were so:
Google/Apple acquired a license to use this technology themselves. I.e. if Google added it to their Google Maps app, that's fine. If Apple added it to some iTunes app, that's fine. It's their apps, they have a license to do so.

But if a third party starts using that technology, well that's not Google/Apple using it then, is it? That technology may be encapsulated in the same thing that Google and Apple's own apps might use (e.g. the API), but it's still the third party actually making use of it.

If third party use of the licensed tech is in fact not covered by the agreement, then what they received is something that's gonna hurt one way or another.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323954)

It's down to the API. You cannot use this "feature" without their APIs. I'm Apple's case, there is no alternative. Apple have set up their store and provided this mess. Either they're so greedy they don't care, or their lawyers got too cocky like IBM's treatment of Microsoft, or the patents are genuine They need to crush Lodsys in the courts and destroy their portfolio. Google also has a few pennies spare and should join in. Better yet, bribe the government a little more and have software patents ruled invalid. Oh wait, no one will do that, there's too much money involved.

Apple took some apps down instead of defending (0)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323094)

An app developer reported on a patent assertion against various baby tracker apps [griffith.name] , and if the report is accurate, Apple removed some apps from it store because a patent holder claimed infringement.

Re:Apple took some apps down instead of defending (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323146)

Did Apple also obtain a license on that patent? If not, how is that even remotely analogous to the situation at hand?

Re:Apple took some apps down instead of defending (1)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323216)

Lodsys disputes that Apple's license covers its app developers. So according to Lodsys, the situations are analogous.

Re:Apple took some apps down instead of defending (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325858)

Apple claims the opposite; that their license does cover their developers. So to them, the situations are completely different.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323104)

Uh wrong on many fronts. apple takes 30% and Android is probably even worse off, since google makes absolutely no claims to defend people due to the "free" nature of Android.
Apple pretty much has to step in at this point. I suspect they will file an injunction of some sort for this suit. The implications will be bad if Lodsys can continue to rape companies.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (2)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323192)

I hope that Apple will step up, but I'm not sure there is anything in the iOS developers agreement that requires them to do so or guarantees any kind of protection against this kind of thing.. If anyone knows of one I would like to see it.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324370)

You're right, there is nothing in the agreement that forces Apple to do this. However, you may be surprised to know that corporations always do things that they aren't forced to do. Generally, these would be things that are reasonably seen as "in their own best interest", but they even do things that the people running the company think is "the right thing to do" (there are definitely some industry leaders for whom this phrase is meaningless, but there are undoubtedly more for whom it does come up at least occasionally).

Anyway, in this particular case, Apple has already gone to bat for the developers to a small, but absolutely unrequired extent. If Apple truly believes their license covers third party developers, it's quite likely they will fully step into the legal battle. Maybe the result would be Lodsys loses completely, maybe Apple ends up licensing directly with Lodsys to pay the license directly as part of the 30% cut (the same as they do currently for things like credit card fees).

There are plenty of possibilities, but one thing is certain: it's in Apple's best interest to make sure developers don't have to worry about being gnawed at by third parties for developing for the App Store.

Apple will sue Lodsys (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325174)

This hurts Apple, because Apple gets a cut of in-app sales, and because lawsuits of this kind hurt app development for Apple products, which hurts product sales. So purely from self-interest, it seems virtually certain that Apple will sue Lodsys. If Lodsys actually had a good case, Apple would probably be willing to pay the licensing fee, but Apple's view is that they have already paid it. The fact that Lodsys has chosen to sue small developers without the resources to fight in court, rather than Apple, suggests that Lodsys is aware that their case is weak, and are hoping to extort some money from the little guys before Apple shuts them down.

Re:Apple will sue Lodsys (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325606)

Aside from the last sentence, you just rephrased part of what I wrote.

The fact that Lodsys has chosen to sue small developers without the resources to fight in court, rather than Apple, suggests that Lodsys is aware that their case is weak, and are hoping to extort some money from the little guys before Apple shuts them down.

This, however, I don't think is the case. I don't think this is a quick smash-and-grab. At worst, even assuming that Lodsys doesn't think they have a strong case (and I think they think they do, but who knows?), this is a gambit. The end game is that Lodsys gets a small cut from every in app sale for doing absolutely nothing other than having purchased a patent and filing some lawsuits.

This is their business model. This is the very reason for patent trolls to exist. They are true parasites.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324604)

I hope that Apple will step up, but I'm not sure there is anything in the iOS developers agreement that requires them to do so or guarantees any kind of protection against this kind of thing.. If anyone knows of one I would like to see it.

Apple had better step in, lest they be sued by their own developers for Fraud for requiring the use of an API that Apple either knew, or should have known, required the payment of undisclosed licensing fees to a third party (Lodsys).

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323478)

If Google were less likely to defend than Apple, why wouldn't Lodsys go after Android developers first? If Apple gets involved, they'll probably bury Lodsys with so much legal red tape that it becomes too costly to keep up with the lawsuit, which while sounding evil is basically what Lodsys hopes to do to the app developers.

Also, if Apple initiates a defense, it's likely that Google, Microsoft, and several other companies will also aid in the defense because should Apple lose, they're probably next.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324412)

iOS is the larger target. More apps, more users, and disproportionately more revenue in iOS apps. It also makes a bigger splash in the news.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325348)

Which begs the question, why don't they all just get together and pound the shit out of these guys.

Personally, I can't get my brain around the fact something so obvious is patentable in the first place. But beyond that, seems like just about every big player would be waiting in line to kick these guys to the curb if they thought it was the least bit defensible.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323900)

You are both wrong. Yes, Apple takes 30% of REVENUE. Not 30% of profit (as original poster stated). Not a bad deal since they are agent.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324638)

You are both wrong. Yes, Apple takes 30% of REVENUE. Not 30% of profit (as original poster stated). Not a bad deal since they are agent.

Not a bad deal for Apple, that is, since most "agents" take 10%, and managers only take 15%.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (1)

jscotta44 (881299) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325410)

You mean 10% and 15% plus whatever expenses they incur. And, their clients cover all the other costs of their business ventures. Bet when you add all those things up that you come up with a 30% or more of total revenue going out the door.

Re:I would hope apple will defend. (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323692)

First, this is happening to Android developers as well. Second, although you're on the right track, IMO, defending third-party suits is really not that different from an out-of-court settlement to a lawsuit; it encourages other sleazy IP factories to sue app developers to get a quick payoff at Apple's/Google's expense.

If Apple and Google believe that their contracts with Lodsys grant rights to third-party app developers, then they should sue Lodsys for breach of contract, damage to their reputations (slander), and tortious interference. Between Apple and Google, it shouldn't be hard to thoroughly bury this patent troll company. Anything short of utterly burying them won't be enough of a deterrent to patent troll suits in the future.

Even better, because such suits would not be counter-suits (Lodsys isn't suing Apple or Google, AFAIK), they could be filed in a more friendly district, e.g. Northern California.

Just saying.

Not only iOS apps but also Mac and Android (0, Troll)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323066)

Most of the infringement accusations relate to iOS apps, but they also include [blogspot.com] one Mac app (Twitterriffic for Mac) and one Android app (Labyrinth for Android).

Unfortunately, the defense theory communicated by Apple in its letter to Lodsys -- and another theory discussed on the Internet in recent weeks (divided infringement) -- could be wrong [blogspot.com] .

Re:Not only iOS apps but also Mac and Android (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323114)

Disclaimer: Florian Mueller is a well-known troll. He has routinely been wrong on these matters. See: Oracle vs Google over Java patents [slashdot.org] .

I was the first one to debunk the "3 claims" story (0)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323198)

Actually, I was not wrong on the Oracle/Google patents issue but the first one to point out that Oracle would realistically not be forced to narrow its asserted patent claims down to only 3. By now it's clear that Oracle has made headway on that issue [blogspot.com] , and Oracle's most recent bargaining position was still 21 claims [blogspot.com] . Apart from that, your comment was off-topic. We're talking about Lodsys here, and if you ask iOS app developers about my blog, I'm sure many of them will tell you that they found the information my blog (such as my detailed Lodsys FAQ [blogspot.com] ) useful.

Re:I was the first one to debunk the "3 claims" st (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323380)

Yes, you were wrong. Especially with your laughable bullshit over those unit test files that weren't even part of a shipped product that you claimed were great "evidence" of this alleged infringement.

Those files were distributed by device makers (0)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323518)

Please take into consideration that several major Android device makers included those files in their official source code distributions [blogspot.com] (source availability packs).

Re:Those files were distributed by device makers (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323884)

Great. Who actually shipped those files? Oh right, no one.

Re:Those files were distributed by device makers (-1, Troll)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323968)

The fact that some device makers included them in their source code distributions while others left them out could indicate that some actually used those files while others didn't. Apart from that, even just distributing such files online raises copyright liability issues.

Re:Those files were distributed by device makers (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324442)

Once again, point out a phone that actually shipped with those files.

Re:Those files were distributed by device makers (0)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324516)

If you want to prove me wrong, show me that none of those phones shipped them. In my original post on the Oracle/Google copyright issue I didn't even say that it was shipped on any particular phone. That was just a strawman set up by Ed Burnette, a ZDNet blogger. Re-read my original January 21, 2011 post [blogspot.com] on this topic: everything I said in there was correct. You might also want to read this blog post [blogspot.com] , which quotes from an official court document that shows Oracle did present those decompiled Java files to the court.

Re:Those files were distributed by device makers (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324706)

Sorry, it's not my job to disprove something you yourself can't even prove. Once you show us an actual phone that shipped with those files we can talk. Until then you're just making shit up.

Re:Those files were distributed by device makers (0)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324748)

Again, I don't have to prove something I never said in the first place. My original post on that copyright issue didn't claim that any phone contained that code. So why would I have to prove it? Only because someone purposely misunderstood what I had written? In terms of copyright infringement, it's very simple: an infringement is an infringement is an infringement. And the mere publication of such files on the Internet is an infringement is an infringement is an infringement.

Re:Not only iOS apps but also Mac and Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323610)

Presumably it will affect all applications that allow in appl purchases through a second party? How about the applications companies install on modern TVs and media players like Boxee Box? You can buy content through them, such as movies, TV episodes, music and even games. Even Amazon are doing it via Yahoo widgets.

Contents of Letter to Lodsys from Apple (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323116)

umad Bro?

Signed,

Steve Jobs

(Sent from my iPhone)

A humble proposal (1, Offtopic)

straponego (521991) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323158)

There's been a lot of debate lately about the failed War on Drugs. Some say that legalizing drugs would take most of the income from murderous cartels, while others believe that the cartels would simple move into new markets. I have a win-win solution. Two of the core competencies of the cartels are: anonymously collecting money, and assassinating people. Let's legalize dope and pay the cartels to whack patent trolls. We free up a lot of prison space, increase tax revenues, cut spending, unfetter the economy, encourage actual innovation and product development, and scare some of the scu^W lawyers into hiding. Huge win all around. We'll have this deficit thing licked in about 3 years.

Re:A humble proposal (1)

immakiku (777365) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323616)

I'll respond to your proposal directly and point out the flaws. Patent trolls only exist because a) the patent system exists and b) it's not possible to differentiate the "trolls" from the legitimate inventors. Either you solve b) and remove this problem of trolls altogether, or any solution targeting patent trolls would altogether undermine a). So in short, your solution is the roundabout way of removing the patent system.

Re:A humble proposal (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324674)

I'll respond to your proposal directly and point out the flaws. Patent trolls only exist because a) the patent system exists and b) it's not possible to differentiate the "trolls" from the legitimate inventors. Either you solve b) and remove this problem of trolls altogether, or any solution targeting patent trolls would altogether undermine a). So in short, your solution is the roundabout way of removing the patent system.

Or you apply the Troll Test. Is the potential Troll actually using the patented item. No = Troll.

Re:A humble proposal (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325916)

> it's not possible to differentiate the "trolls" from the legitimate inventors.

Sure it is. Did you actually invent the item in question? Probably not a troll. If you bought the patent, are you actually using it in one of your products? Oh, you don't have any products? Then you're definitely a troll.

Re:A humble proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324280)

Dude, perhaps you should lay off the drugs.

Patent system broken (0)

msobkow (48369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323178)

Everyone knows it, but I'll state the obvious: The US patent system is badly broken.

Re:Patent system broken (0)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324692)

Everyone knows it, but I'll state the obvious: The US patent system is badly broken.

Mod Obvious -1.

I can't take it anymore (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323180)

Software Patent, maybe even patents in general HAVE TO GO! I don't think a single week passes without me hearing about yet another stupid patent suit. They've long since outlived your usefulness.

Re:I can't take it anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323486)

Software Patent, maybe even patents in general HAVE TO GO! I don't think a single week passes without me hearing about yet another stupid patent suit. They've long since outlived your usefulness.

No. patents have a function. Frivolous patent suits do not. There need to be significant penalties for these. They also need to reexamine the use of patents for generic ideas as opposed to specific inventions and methods.

Lets not forget... (4, Informative)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323214)

Lodsys Sues 7 iPhone Devs and 1 Andriod Dev Over Patent Infringement Claims..

Lodsys sues 7 app developers in East Texas, disagrees with Apple; Android also targeted [blogspot.com]

Re:Lets not forget... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36325638)

The punchline of course is nobody cares about the Android devs...

Patent Office (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323232)

I made the mistake of trying to read one of the patents. I have new-found respect for the staff employeed by the USPO. Good heavens, how someone can make a living reading these on a daily basis is beyond me.

Re:Patent Office (1)

God'sDuck (837829) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323580)

I made the mistake of trying to read one of the patents. I have new-found respect for the staff employeed by the USPO. Good heavens, how someone can make a living reading these on a daily basis is beyond me.

I don't feel too bad...failure to apply in plain English (except for technical details of a specific implementation) should be immediate grounds for dismissal of a patent. That you can apply with garbage like this and get a patent is the result of precedent. That said...that's the fault of management, not the poor kids fresh out of law school working there until they can find a better job.

Re:Patent Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323596)

Hi,

I'm an examiner at the USPTO and I would like to share with you our methods for reviewing and approving (or sometime denying) patents. While they are often lengthy and obfuscated, our extensive experience can cut through the legalese and get straight to the nuts and bolts.

First, we divide examiners into areas of expetise. We have many engineers from various disciplines: electrical; structural; mechanical; civil; etc. Water experts. Software experts. Hardware experts. Cooling systems. Heating systems. Automotive, aeronautic, nautical. Bridge builders and road builders and widget makers. You get the idea.

So we divide them up into areas and we convene committees to first give each patent a cursory review, to ensure it meets the most basic criteria that all patents must. You are probably familiar with them: novel, non-obvious, useful. Patents are collected and brought before the committee composed of experts in that particular area, projected on large screens by a clerk, who reads each abstract aloud before distributing the full paper copies.

During these committee meetings we expert examiners often play cards, sleep, eat sandwiches, go for a walk. Things like that. I'm posting on Slashdot right now! We figured out a long time ago that no one pays any attention until after we issue, and then it becomes a matter for the courts. Just like this Lodsys thing! It will all work out fine in the end.

Funny story: during the examination of these two Lodsys I was playing Pocket God on my iPhone!

Re:Patent Office (1)

bjwest (14070) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324306)

Sounds like the way Congress and the House operate - no one pays any attention (their corporate handlers have already told them how to vote) and it takes an hour or so for them to waddle their ass over to their desk to press a 'yea' or 'nae' button.

Re:Patent Office (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325764)

Good heavens, how someone can make a living reading these on a daily basis is beyond me.

Duct tape: apply directly to the forehead.

terrible (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323240)

What a Lodsys of bullshit. I hope these guys die horrible deaths.

Re:terrible (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323892)

Rational.

Re:terrible (0)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324702)

What a Lodsys of bullshit. I hope these guys die horrible deaths.

Mod Popular +1.

Lodsys '078 is a classic submarine patent (1)

doperative (1958782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323306)

"The '078 is the modern day version of a submarine patent, the claims morphing over more than a decade through a CIP and multiple continuations, most of which were abandoned along the way" link [applepatent.com]

"This Customer-Based Product Design Module (CB-PD Module) invention is designed to embed a new type of product feature within a range of products and services, helping them evolve into Customer Directed Products (CDP) by means of Development Interactions (DI). The result is a continuous source of Aggregate Customer Desires (ACD) and Defined Customer Desires (DCD) from customers and users while they are using these products and services. This serves vendors as a continuous way to listen to Customers and understand their performance, their needs and their expectations." link [uspto.gov]

Even if Apple isn't bound to step in (1)

shacky003 (1595307) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323314)

They will do so based on a pure good business decision.
If they stand by and do nothing, it will spook the future developers from creating iOS apps.
Why wouldn't they defend the devs when it could mean issues later on for the profit machine?

Will Apple? OF COURSE! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323464)

This is a no-brainer. Even if this was Microsoft instead of Apple, the big company that depends on its developers to enrich their products absolutely had to defend its developers whenever and however possible,

To take the view that Apple is too "negative adjective" to do the "right thing" would be absurd. They have their own interests to protect and they most certainly will. If they failed to do that, you can expect a massive drop in quality, enthusiasm and number of developers for Apple's platforms. This, in turn, would spell quiet disappointment in the user community and only the long-term, hard core fans would remain while all the latest and greatest things would be arriving in Android or even Windows.

To which anti-patent organization should I donate? (1)

ChangeOnInstall (589099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323704)

I've been strongly offended by software patents ever since I learned over a decade ago about how meager the "innovations" they protect can be. I think most of us will make one or two "patentable innovations" per day before lunch, or at least infringe with some fundamental task like throwing an exception (never realizing we were "innovating" or "infringing" in the process).

So where should we send the money? I want to donate to an org that shares my opinions and is doing something about it. The two I know of are as follows, but would appreciate additional suggestions.

EFF Patent Busting Project: http://w2.eff.org/patent/wp.html [eff.org]
End Software Patents: http://endsoftpatents.org/donate [endsoftpatents.org]

Why this is more an issue for iOS than Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323748)

The developers are using prescribed, Apple-provided APIs and are barred by Apple from implementing alternatives.

Take it to Congress (3, Insightful)

d3xt3r (527989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323774)

The US patent system is badly broken, at least as far as software patents go. We all know that around here. Usually, the cases that make the tech news involve these Patent Trolls suing large companies (Apple, Google, MS), heck, even SCO v Red Hat. However, here we have an example of "the little guy" getting hurt by a software patent infringement case for an obvious patent.

This case may be a good example to put in front of Congress to show them how completely broken the current system. First, the inventor wasn't harmed by these "in app purchases", it's a patent holding company trolling. Second, the patent is obvious, overly broad and should never have been approved. Third, the patent in question shows the abuses of the current continuation system here in the US. And forth, it's Joe Sixpack getting sued! Nothing works up Congress and the media like an attack on the little guy / corporation.

Microsoft behind this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323836)

I'm beginning to wonder if Microsoft is behind this. It's not unusual for Micorosoft to use another company to attack competition using "IP" as weaponary.

Re:Microsoft behind this? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36325650)

Considering their developers are being threatened too, I find that highly unlikely.

If Apple does start to defend iOS developers (1)

lpp (115405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324130)

I suspect one concern Apple might have is what effect attempting to defend iOS developers might have. If they stay out of it, patent trolls like Lodsys will obviously continue to go after potentially infringing small fries in the hopes of browbeating them into settling. But if they enter the fray, it might set a precedent which could pull them into other infringement cases that they might feel less comfortable fighting. At some point they're going to have to draw a line and say either that they will pick and choose which infringement cases they will help defend or try to delineate some rules to be able to predict such situations. Either way has its drawbacks.

And of course, they may still opt out of defending. Sure, they wrote a strongly worded letter, but they still have yet to actually put a lawyer in a courtroom or at a negotiating table, on behalf of an unaffiliated iOS developer.

Boo! (1)

redshirt (95023) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324500)

Boo to the Eastern District Courts of Texas!

Indispensable Parties (4, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324526)

IANAL, however, the very first thing I'd do is move for immediate dismissal with prejudice on the basis that the Plaintiffs have failed to join indispensable parties (i.e. Apple) to the lawsuit. I don't see any way that Apple cannot be dragged into this suit and you just don't want a friend of the court brief from them.

Also, consider asking the judge to consolidate the cases so that you can pool your defenses.

And lastly, file immediate counterclaims for anything you can think of (vexatious litigation, harassment, extortion, barratry, perjury) so that they can't empty your pockets first and then just dismiss the case (w/o prejudice) and run away untouched. As long as you have counterclaims active Lodsys can't unilaterally end the case and leave you holding the bag for your legal expenses.

This case is far too much like someone finding something patented in MS Visual Studio.NET, and then suing application developers for using VS.NET to develop their own applications.

Of course, Apple should have already shown up for this just to prove that they're really not as Evil as many think them to be.

Interplead Apple (1)

pacergh (882705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324566)

If they don't join the suit the developers should interplead them in.

That's patentable? (1)

BurzumNazgul (1163509) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324670)

These patents look like a basic feature for getting feedback from someone running your application. (Or a fax machine in their example). Everything that any self respecting designer would naturally think to include is covered.

Flush the patent system; it's a turd.

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