Some Windows 8 app developers fear Lodsys lawsuits

Windows 8, especially its new Metro touch screen interface, could be very popular for app developers. But some are already thinking that their creations could be a target for Lodsys. This is the patent troll company who has already taken legal action against a number of iOS and Android app developers, claiming their apps are in violation of Lodsys' patent which it says covers in-app billing technology.

ZDNet.com reports that it received an email from an unnamed app developer who has been thinking about making a Metro app for Windows 8. However, the developer fears that Lodsys could take the opportunity to fire off a lawsuit against his business. The developer says, "Any Windows developers interested in developing Metro apps will be exposing themselves to a possible lawsuit from Lodsys because Microsoft is planning to use the same type of in-app purchasing system for Metro apps that iOS developers must use.”

ZDNet.com decide to contact Microsoft for a response. Microsoft sent back a statement which says:

We are licensed to the Lodsys patents and also have a robust and industry leading indemnification policy for customers of Microsoft products and services. To your reader’s question about developers specifically, this is not a typical indemnification scenario since it involves someone else’s product/application. However, again, Microsoft is licensed to the Lodsys patents so it is not something developers should be concerned about.

Even with Microsoft's statement, that's no guarantee that Lodsys won't take legal action against Windows 8 app developers. Florian Mueller, the founder of the FOSS Patents blog, believes that Microsoft, along with other companies like Apple and Google, must take a stand and fight for the app developers for their respective platforms. He says, "Those large platform makers have a responsibility and I don’t think any one of them has done nearly enough to respond to this issue, which is disappointing. Blanket coverage for small developers is the only real solution in connection with Lodsys, but no platform company provides it."

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Summary...

Apple tried to step in to protect its developers, but its licenses were side handed obtained, and because of Apple's own wording that 'separates' and does not partner or offer protection to their developers, Apple was unable to do anything to stop it.

However Apple could donate legal funds/resources to the defendants, and so far haven't done this, which is a bit freaking crazy...

Microsoft on the other hand, has a more comprehensive license for the technology, and Microsoft also has some 'claim' to the patent, as it originally came from a Microsoft employee, that sold it to this Troll company.

Microsoft also provides a comprehensive indemnification to end-users and developers, which doesn't specifically classify in this 'new' area of patent trolling as it doesn't give Microsoft a legal blanket to stop the lawsuit; however, it does obligate Microsoft to step in and provides them with a legal means to defend the lawsuit (which Apple because of their own developer agreements could NOT do).

It also obligates Microsoft to fund any legal defense, and provide resources to the developers and end users. This is the most egregious part of the Apple cases, as Apple has NOT done this. They could set up a legal defense fund and provide the developers with money, lawyers and technical resources to fight the lawsuits. Apple could also offer to compensate the developers.

Other than trying to get their 'license' to count for the developers, Apple hasn't helped their own developers, which probably makes more sense when you realize that Apple themselves have pursed cases on individuals and don't care that a lawsuit against an individual could impoverish them for the rest of their life.


So despite the crazy headline from MaryJo and ZDNet and here...

The safest mobile platform to write Apps for 'legally' is WP7, as Microsoft offers you indemnification, and even if they can't directly intervene in the lawsuit, legally obligate themselves to you as a developer/end-user and must compensate you and provide you with funding and legal assistance.

With regard directly to Lodsys, Microsoft is one of the few companies that can probably directly intervene in the lawsuit, as they do NOT limit their relationship with their developers like Apple does. Microsoft also has legal claims to the patent based on its origin, and even if Lodsys sues you, Microsoft is going to be your legal team, you don't have to fend for yourself like freaking Apple is making their developers do.

Microsoft, itself, may be shielded. I wouldn't bet much money on third-party developers using Windows-8 to be shielded. Another problem with the Metro interface.

TsarNikky said,
Microsoft, itself, may be shielded. I wouldn't bet much money on third-party developers using Windows-8 to be shielded. Another problem with the Metro interface.

Um, you do realize what indemnification means, and that even if Microsoft's licenses don't protect developers, Microsoft holds themselves to be responsible to the developers.

And what this has to do with Metro is beyond me, as Windows 7 is already sold on mobile devices, and tons of applications on Windows 7 already fall under this patent and could be targeted.

Just because Neowin doesn't get that Windows 8 and Metro are irrelevant to this lawsuit, doesn't mean you have to get on an 'anti-Metro' kick out of ignorance.

I'm sorry but patent holders shouldn't be able to go after 3rd parties... MS implemented the tech, gave the API's to 3rd parties that are to believe that the 1st party (MS) implemented with no patent problems.... going after the 3rd party is just a stupid thing, go after MS not the people that are using a tech MS implemented, or are you just scared you'd lose to MS?

The funny part is, relatively small fry compared to MS have gone up and won in court against them regarding patents.

Which is why it's kind of hilarious to hear kiddies with keyboards hammering away on forums about how Microsoft is bullying Android vendors who "can't possibly fight them in court".

Why do you use the term "ZDNet.com" ?
This is about Mary-Jo Foley, AFAIK...she doesn't do things on behalf of ZDNet.
I mean, if you start saying ZDNet.com on each writer, the result is that this "ZDNet.com" contradicts itself multiple times per day

Aethec said,
- - - - -
I mean, if you start saying ZDNet.com on each writer, the result is that this "ZDNet.com" contradicts itself multiple times per day.

This point is quite valid.

bdsams said,
MJF writes for ZDnet, we typically cite the website not the author.

I'd think it'd be "correct" to site them as Mary-Jo Foley via ZDNet

neufuse said,

I'd think it'd be "correct" to site them as Mary-Jo Foley via ZDNet


I concur. In this case it's comes from an individual's blog, not an official ZDNet article. The blog in question just happens to be hosted on ZDNet.com.

neufuse said,

I'd think it'd be "correct" to site them as Mary-Jo Foley via ZDNet

Agreed.
Referring to it as "ZDnet.com" is like saying "Wordpress.com reports blah" when quoting from someone's blog.

GreenMartian said,

Agreed.
Referring to it as "ZDnet.com" is like saying "Wordpress.com reports blah" when quoting from someone's blog.
Except ZDNet chooses it's writers, with Wordpress anyone can get a WP blog.

Xerax said,
Except ZDNet chooses it's writers, with Wordpress anyone can get a WP blog.

Do you go to ZDnet often these days? It feels like their standards are roughly on par with your assessment of Wordpress, hah.

All the tech titans should form some sort of league, and then collectively buy out such patent trolls.

FMH said,
All the tech titans should form some sort of league, and then collectively buy out such patent trolls.
Overall, patent troll still wins. Plus you can't be sure the 'tech titans' would play fair either.

n_K said,
Overall, patent troll still wins. Plus you can't be sure the 'tech titans' would play fair either.
That's why a consortium should be formed.
Okay, buying would cost money. But they could start a massive-scale lawyer attack, in which they invalidate as many patents of their's, as possible.

FMH said,
All the tech titans should form some sort of league, and then collectively buy out such patent trolls.

Would be easier to abolish current patent system and start from scratch.

FMH said,
That's why a consortium should be formed.
Okay, buying would cost money. But they could start a massive-scale lawyer attack, in which they invalidate as many patents of their's, as possible.

Who says your consortium would not turn into a troll itself? Your consortium will be itself a super massive patent troll.

Patents exist so that inventors can make money from it. Inventors can sell patents to make money. Then the new owners can do whatever they want with it. The patents system itself condones trolling. That is how inventors make money.

Patents cannot be invalidated unless you have a serious point to show that there is a prior act.

The problem goes back to the point where US started treating corporations as people. They are not people, but they still get people rights. So even though the inventors are long gone, the corporations get to troll with their patents. Corporate employment agreements state this very fact that they will practically own all your patents the minute you sign the employment agreement.

This is what you get when you privatize every damn thing in your country.