In a series of blog posts on its site, patent holding firm Lodsys reveals that it has gone ahead and sued developers for infringing on its patents, reports MacRumors. This is in spite of Apple coming to the developer’s defense last week in a response letter to Lodsys.
In its response, Apple told Lodsys that all developers had a license to use the technologies described in Lodsys’ patents because Apple themselves had the license. Lodsys says that it has gone ahead and sued anyway because it feels that it has to in order to ‘preserve its legal options’.
Lodsys also refutes the fact that developers have a license for the technology laid out in the patents and says that it was in private talks with Apple about the use of the patents before Apple replied publicly.
On May 22nd, Apple’s chief lawyer Bruce Sewell unequivocally announced that Apple’s license to the Lodsys patents gave Apple’s 3rd party developers complete and “undisputable” freedom to use the covered inventions without paying royalties or fearing lawsuits. There was a very positive reaction in the press and blogs. Apple appeared to give the Developer community what they wanted. Unfortunately for Developers, Apple’s claim of infallibility has no discernable basis in law or fact.
The letter was very surprising as Apple and Lodsys were in confidential discussions and there was clearly disagreement on the interpretation of the license terms of Apple’s agreement.
Lodsys is so confident that it is properly litigating in this matter that it says it will reimburse any developer ‘improperly targeted’ by an infringement notice $1,00 for their trouble.
In another post on their blog, Lodsys attacks both the Apple and Google platforms for ‘selling developers’ on the idea that the entire platform has been legally vetted and that developers are safe from legal claims. They also make a point of the fact that Apple is only liable to cover $50 worth of legal costs should it fight Lodsys on this patent issue and lose.
Apple marketing is selling you on the idea that they have what you need and it is yours and you are covered free and clear. Apple legal doesn’t have those rights to offer, and they absolve themselves of all responsibility in your agreement and they have offered you nothing, no license, no indemnification, no obligation to defend you, they offer nothing other than the $50 and no clear way to even get that.
Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, one of the people to correctly predict that Lodsys would sue anyway, says that Lodsys has officially sued developer’s Combay, IconFactory, Illusion Labs, Michael G. Karr dba Shovelmate, QuickOffice, Richard Shinerman and Wulven Game Studios today.
As we stated when the Apple defense letter was released, this issue isn’t over, by a long shot. This is yet another maneuver in a legal battle that we will no doubt be hearing about for quite a while. Apple’s response to this latest salvo from Lodsys will be interesting to see.