∞ iPhone developer threatened with lawsuit for using in-app purchasing

James Thomson, the owner of TLA Systems, makers of DragThing and PCalc for Mac, and PCalc for iOS, was served with a letter this morning threatening to sue for his use of Apple’s in-app purchasing system.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]Thomson didn’t say who the company was that sent the letter, but on Twitter this morning he said, “They seem to be effectively claiming the rights to in-app purchase, but going after me, not Apple.”

Thomson uses in-app purchasing in the free PCalc Lite, allowing customers to upgrade to the full version within the app. His use is no different than what many other developers are using on the App Store.

Thomson was told in the letter that he had 21 days to license the technology from the unnamed company or face a patent infringement lawsuit.

All of the information was sent to Apple, according to Thomson. He has decided not to speak too much about it until he hears back from Apple.

  • If they can get a number of smaller developers to license the technology (because they don’t want to fight), then that gives there later lawsuits much more credence.

    • Spot on.  The idea is to attack the ones without sufficient means to defend themselves.  A very good strategy to avoid taking on Apple until they gain momentum.

      Not much different than Apple’s strategy of suing HTC and not Google.

  • Looks like a scam. I wonder how fast this company backs down once Apple gets involved.

  • His Shadow

    Petty thieves and thugs.

  • obiwandreas

     This is a nice little app you got here.  Sure would be a shame if anything happened to it…

  • Boxdrink

    Since the apps are developed with Apple’s SDK, isn’t this something Apple should be shielding them from? Alternately, isn’t this item a bit obvious today to be of any relevance in terms of uniqueness. What other way is there to do in app purchases? A button seems like the obvious, non-patentable solution to me. I must be nuts.

    • His Shadow

      Parasites are creatures of opportunity. 

      • Boxdrink