There’s got to be a special place in hell for patent trolls, but that is, perhaps, a discussion best relegated to the comment section.
FOSS Patents is reporting that Lodsys has now amended its original complaint against iOS and Android developers to include some big name defendants.
Lodsys’ new complaint alleges that the following companies all have apps that infringe upon Lodsys patents on account of their use of in-app purchasing.
Rovio’s Angry Birds, available for both the iPhone and Android
EA’s The Sims 3 for the iPhone
Atari’s Greatest Hits app for both the iPhone and Android
Square Enix’s Big Hit Baseball for the iPhone and iPad
Take-Two Interactive’s 2K Sports NHL 2K11 for the iPhone
If you recall, the Lodsys saga first kicked off when Lodsys sent out letters to a number of iOS developers seeking to attain licensing terms that would give them 0.575% of all revenue derived so long as an app made use of in-app purchasing. When developers balked, Lodsys decided to sue. As for anyone who might naturally ask why not just settle with Lodsys and get this over with, bear in mind that the contract proferred by Lodsys states that they maintain the right to change the revenue percentage owed at their discretion with no warning required.
As a result of Lodsys’ threat to the iOS ecosystem, Apple thankfully stepped up to the plate a few weeks ago and is attempting to intervene as a party against Lodsys. For its part, Apple maintains that it’s existing license with Lodsys covers iOS developers. Lodsys of course disagrees.
We never get tired of pointing out that Lodsys’ entire patent portfolio is unabashed crap and is the result of an overworked and undertrained USPTO granting patents that lack any semblance of novelty, utility, and technical know-how. Indeed, Lodsys’ patents are generalized descriptions of processes that add nothing whatsoever to the collective of technological know-how.
But, you’ve got to play the hand your dealt and Lodsys is anteing up big time.
The number of defendants they’re going after now numbers 11. Further, and as pointed out by Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, the fact that they’ve thrown big name development houses into the mix indicates their willingness to mix it up in court and that they have deep enough pockets to fight a number of contentious lawsuits across varying jurisdictions.
Remember that the Michigan-based company ForeSee filed a declaratory judgement in the Northern District of Illinois seeking to invalidate Lodsys’ patents because the company had threatened legal action against some of ForeSee’s customers.
Meanwhile, Lodsys appears to be sending out assertion letters to an increasing number of Android developers. Google thus far, though, hasn’t said much of anything on the mater – which may prompt Lodsys to target even more Android developers going forward.
Unfortunately, the morally bankrupt actions of companies like Lodsys (which contribute nothing and merely exist to legally shakedown hardworking developers) has already started to have repercussions, albeit small, across app store ecosystems. A Guardian article from last week highlights that some developers have already started pulling their apps from mobile app stores for fear of becoming entangled in litigation they can ill afford to engage in.