∞ Apple says developers are licensed for Lodsys patents

In a letter sent to Lodsys on Monday, Apple asked that the company withdraw letters sent to app developers demanding they license the technology.

[ad#Google Adsense 300x250 in story]“Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patents and the App Makers are protected by that license,” wrote Bruce Sewell, Apple Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

Lodsys sent a letter to several Apple iOS developers on May 13, 2011 claiming that they had to license the company’s technology, which allowed for in-app purchases. However, developers felt that because Apple licensed the technology and offered it as a way to provide its users with in-app purchases, they should be able to use it.

Apple feels the same way.

“Thus the technology that is targeted in your notice letters is technology that Apple is expressly licensed under the Lodsys patents to offer to Apple’s App Makers,” wrote Sewell. “These licensed products and services enable Apple’s App Makers to communicate with end users through the use of Apple’s own licensed hardware, software, APIs, memory, servers, and interfaces, including Apple’s App Store. Because Apple is licensed under Lodsys’ patents to offer such technology to its App Makers, the App Makers are entitled to use this technology free from any infringement claims by Lodsys.”



  • http://twitter.com/ShawnKing Shawn King

     Which, in theory, means Apple is stepping in for the devs in a lawsuit Lodsys might try and bring.

  • http://twitter.com/danielhedlund Daniel Hedlund

     Lesson to be learned; Don’t mess with Apple when it comes to legal threats against their interests. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=821623 Mike Rentas

    Glad to see it, but does this really come as a surprise to anyone? There’s no way Apple would have let this stand, they have way too much to lose if patent trolls decide it’s open season on their developers.

  • Anonymous

     Time to give the death penalty to troll lawyers.

    • Anonymous

      Killing the lawyers maybe a slight overreaction? How about something more like: force them to wear a clown wig for X years where X equals the number of threatening letters they sent? Thus distroying any chance the have to be taken seriously by judges and members of the opposite sex.

      • http://skington.livejournal.com/ Sam Kington

        Apart from members of the opposite sex with clown fetishes.

        Which, thinking about it, is possibly even more punishment.

      • http://profiles.google.com/rxantos Ricardo Santos

        I do not know it is an overreaction.

        There is useful, there is garbage and there is toxic waste. Even garbage can have redeeming value. But patent trolls go to the toxic waste area, they harm everything they touch. The longer they stay in business the longer they harm everyone else.

        Patent trolls are, usually, not a single individual, but a corporation. You can remove the licenses from their lawyers, but corporations can just hire another lawyer. Thus the only way is to eliminate the toxic waste corporation.

      • Anonymous

        Over reaction? Surely. Effective? Definitely. I will not be surprised to hear in the news some time soon that one of these patent trolls is found dead under strange circumstances. I am also sure that 99% of the tech world will be secretly happy to hear it. 

  • Cris

     How Lodsys didn’t see this coming. Kind of like Psystar or whatever they were called. Don’t mess with Apple when it comes to there interests.

    Also, I am petty sure that Apple legal looked over this with a fine tooth combe before responding. That is why they took so long to address this. So I they Lodsys is SOL.

    • http://www.spotsift.com Peter Chang

      They didn’t overlook it. It’s totally a Sun Tsu move. If you look ahead several steps, LodSys is playing a thorn-in-the-side role and will likely use it to either get a payout or leverage better terms on future licensing. Either way, they have the patent and so they have some power. They just can’t overdo it and call Apples bluff (which would mean Apple going the whole nine yards and taking them to court).

      • lkalliance

        Agree. I think the “well, now that’s over with, Lodsys is smacked down” is premature. I expect that they planned for Apple’s reaction. The final word on this isn’t here yet, not for a long while.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/TGZ75URQ6DKTCNXV3RV36ZKALQ Matthew

     I’m glad Apple took a few days to research this with their lawyers so they could release a definitive statement.

  • http://twitter.com/nejcd Nejc Žorga Dulmin

     They probably just went for a quick buck while it worked … and now they will step down. They should be ashamed.

  • http://twitter.com/nejcd Nejc Žorga Dulmin

     They probably just went for a quick buck while it worked … and now they will step down. They should be ashamed.

  • Anonymous

    Bold and good move by Apple. I guess they know pretty well that Lodsys will file a lawsuit now. I don’t exactly think they believe what they claim about how far the current license goes. I guess they first heard of it just as the first letters from Lodsys flew in. But they take their chances and more importantly they take the risk off of the developers shoulders. I’m pretty curious to see how and if this battle goes on.

    • Brandon Abell

      What grounds would Lodsys have for a lawsuit against Apple?  By their own admission, Apple is licensed.   Best I could see as a non-lawyer is some sort of interference tort, but I think Apple has a better case against Lodsys than Lodsys does against Apple. But I haven’t seen what their license contract says though. . . so who knows?

  • Anonymous

    Bold and good move by Apple. I guess they know pretty well that Lodsys will file a lawsuit now. I don’t exactly think they believe what they claim about how far the current license goes. I guess they first heard of it just as the first letters from Lodsys flew in. But they take their chances and more importantly they take the risk off of the developers shoulders. I’m pretty curious to see how and if this battle goes on.

  • http://www.tablazines.com Tablazines

    I’m surprised Google didn’t do the same thing with the threats against Android.

  • http://www.tablazines.com Tablazines

    I’m surprised Google didn’t do the same thing with the threats against Android.

  • http://twitter.com/billymeltdown Billy Gray

     Is the original document that Apple sent unavailable?

    • http://twitter.com/ShawnKing Shawn King

       Macworld.com has the full text of the letter.

  • His Shadow

    I’m glad Apple is smacking Lodsys down, but how depressing is it that this is even a real patent?

    • http://twitter.com/Moeskido Moeskido

      Almost as depressing as having a Congress full of fools who don’t even understand what a patent is.

  • http://www.theuniversalsteve.com Anonymous

    I just read the letter from Apple. I love how they point to Lodsys’ own screenshots showing that it’s the App Store itself that is using the patented technology and not the developers.

  • peter

     It will be interesting to see if they can get off the hook. Apple just might object to their likely motion to dismiss/withdraw, and force a review of the patents in question. Not that would be a nice outcome, since they’re unlikely to stand scrutiny.

  • http://mangochut.net/ mangochutney

    And Lodsys was never heard from again.