EFF And App Developers Alliance To Court: Don't Let Patent Troll Lodsys Avoid Apple's Attempt To Intervene In Bogus Threats

from the patent-exhaustion-is-exhausting dept

We've covered patent troll Lodsys a bunch of times. If you don't recall, it's one of many patent trolls using patents it obtained via Intellectual Ventures, to shake down tons of mobile app developers, not for anything unique that they developed, but rather because they use Apple and Google's basic in-app payment mechanisms to let people buy stuff from within the app. Lodsys has been particularly aggressive in going after smaller independent developers who likely can't afford a full defense. Lodsys has claimed that Apple and Google each have licensed the patents, and that shows the validity of the patents in question, but they ignore that those licenses came from deals with IV that covered a wide portfolio of patents, not this one in particular. Furthermore, Lodsys, really, really wants to avoid anyone pointing out that the fact that Apple and Google already licensed these patents suggests that developers who use Apple and Google's tools are covered by those licenses under the concept of patent exhaustion, which says that if a supplier licenses a patent to build it into a product, the patent holder doesn't get to double/triple/quadruple collect, by demanding licenses from everyone up and down the supply chain.

Apple, in fact, has tried to intervene in the cases that Lodsys has actually filed (against a subset of the companies to which it has sent threatening demand letters). However, it appears that Lodsys has been quite aggressive in getting companies in such cases to settle (likely by making such a settlement super cheap -- much cheaper than actually going to court) and then arguing that Apple cannot intervene since the case is actually settled.

EFF and the App Developers Alliance (disclosure: the App Developers Alliance sponsors this blog, but we've been covering Lodsys since long before they existed, and will continue to cover them going forward as is newsworthy) have now filed an amicus brief arguing that the court should deny Lodsys' attempt to keep Apple out of one of these cases, because it should be determined once and for all if app developers are immune from Lodsys' questionable threats via Apple's own license. As the brief notes, without this, app developers have significant uncertainty when receiving a threat letter -- and with it a strong incentive to just settle, even if they strongly believe they do not infringe upon the patent (or that the patent is invalid).
If this Court rules in Apple’s favor, it would also grant certainty to the millions of app developers in this country who face an open-ended threat from Lodsys. It would have the added benefit of putting litigants and potential targets in other en masse end-user suits on notice of the scope of risk they might be undertaking when they face these demands.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: patent exhaustion, patent trolls, patents
Companies: app developers alliance, eff, intellectual ventures, lodsys


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. icon
    Namel3ss (profile), 20 Sep 2013 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    Yeah Newegg needs to write an app with in-app purchasing just so they can dare lodsys to sue them and then grind them into dust in court. xD

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat

Warning: include(/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/..') in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8
Recent Stories
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.