Apple defends its App Store devs against Lodsys's patent claims

You may recall the events which unfolded over a week ago, when a company by the name of Lodsys went after developers in the App Store who offered in-app transactions in their application by using a mechanism provided by Apple. Lodsys's demands were a 0.575% royalty for any application that allows for purchasable upgrades or addons, or at least just those they sent patent infringement notices to via FedEx. Barring that, legal action would be taken against these small developers. The developers were not amused that they were getting chased after for using technology that isn't even theirs.

Fortunately, Apple agrees. In a letter spotted by The Register earlier today, Apple claims they have licensed the patents in question from Lodsys, and the license covers its App Store developers as well. We assume a small fraction of the 30% royalty Apple takes from each sale in the App Store goes towards said licenses. Thus, as Apple's senior vice-president and general counsel Bruce Sewell charges in a letter to Lodsys, Apple "is undisputedly licensed to these [patents] and the Apple App Makers are protected by that license." The letter, which is reproduced below, demands Lodsys to drop all forms of litigation against App Store developers regarding this particular case.

Lodsys continues to dispute these claims, claiming on their blog (which appeared to be setup only recently to explain their claims) that Apple's licenses do not provide "pixie dust" to "bless third party applications."

Lodsys Final May 23 2011

Image Credit: Glowing Apple Logo Wallpaper by iThinkThereforeiMac

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So Apple don't want you to use outside in app purchases as seen in Kindle app however if you use their in app purchase system Lodsys will come after you

Hard choice

what a complete load of horse crap, like micro, in-game transactions, or program extensions is anything new. i'm glad apple is supporting its developers, but they should be crushing the worms trying to control an idea that isn't really their own.

And this is really not really Apple defending developers.. this is more like a polite letter to ask Lodsys guys to stop suing them. It has zero weight and there is a reason why Apple specifically puts in developer terms and conditions that they will not bare any responsibility nor financial losses due to individual developer lawsuits.

Plus, they can say what they want, but I bet you that Apple only paid licensing of these Lodsys patents for themselves and not for use by 3rd parties in their own apps and services and thus Lodsys has 100% right to go after anyone who infringes their patents and is not Apple.

I think you should read that letter again.
It is said more than one time that Apple has all licenses and is allowed to offer the regarding systems to its customers and business-partners. So they too are fully licensed.

Kosh said,
I think you should read that letter again.
It is said more than one time that Apple has all licenses and is allowed to offer the regarding systems to its customers and business-partners. So they too are fully licensed.

What Apple "assumes" and what they licensed are 2 different things. It's up to Lodsys to decide not Apple. I'm almost 100% sure they didn't license those patents to fall under every single app built. They just thought they could slide with it and just in case they put it in terms and conditions that they can't be sued.

We'll see if Apple will actually "protect" developers. I will be very surprised if they do. This letter is nothing but a PR move. They did absolutely nothing.

Boz said,

What Apple "assumes" and what they licensed are 2 different things. It's up to Lodsys to decide not Apple.

What you assume is irrelevant.
It's the contract which will decide.

Boz said,

What Apple "assumes" and what they licensed are 2 different things. It's up to Lodsys to decide not Apple.

What you assume is irrelevant.
It's the contract which will decide.

Sorry I really don't see the point in Lodsys claims here.
Apple creates the App Store where it publishes Apps from 3rd party developers.
So Apple is the one that uses Lodsys "patent" by allowing In-App purchases within their App-Store.
What if, for example, eBay licenses a 3rd Party technology for its server-side code to get the real-time bidding done. Should the creator of such technology now also be allowed to sue everyone who is selling on eBay?

And this is not only Apple. Microsoft and Google also have licensed Lodsys's patents. And I don't really think that all the big players pay for something knowing that their App-Developers will have to pay again for the exact same thing.

Kosh said,
Sorry I really don't see the point in Lodsys claims here.
Apple creates the App Store where it publishes Apps from 3rd party developers.
So Apple is the one that uses Lodsys "patent" by allowing In-App purchases within their App-Store.
What if, for example, eBay licenses a 3rd Party technology for its server-side code to get the real-time bidding done. Should the creator of such technology now also be allowed to sue everyone who is selling on eBay?

And this is not only Apple. Microsoft and Google also have licensed Lodsys's patents. And I don't really think that all the big players pay for something knowing that their App-Developers will have to pay again for the exact same thing.


i think its because how much revenue Apple get via the in-app purchase Lodsys LLS wants some of the money, so there calming or even blackmailing the App Dev's.

Boz said,

I'm almost 100% sure they didn't license those patents to fall under every single app built.

We get it Boz, you have a serious hatred of anything Apple, but I'm absolutely 100% sure that Bruce Sewell (the lawyer who wrote this letter) knows a hell of a lot more about Apple's contract with Lodsys than you do.