Got a tip for us? Share it...

New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Lodsys Threatens to Sue App Store Developers Over In-App Purchases and Upgrade Links

Yesterday, we received word from Rob Gloess of Computer LogicX, the company behind the Mix & Mash and Mix & Mash LITE applications for iOS, that he had received legal documents threatening a patent lawsuit over the use of an "upgrade" button in the lite version of his application linking users to the App Store where they could purchase the full version.
Our app, Mix & Mash, has the common model of a limited free, lite, version and a full version that contains all the features. We were told that the button that users click on to upgrade the app, or rather link to the full version on the app store was in breach of US patent no 7222078, we couldn't believe it, the upgrade button!?!
The patent in question was filed in December 2003 as part of series of continuations on earlier patent applications dating back to 1992. The patent is credited to Dan Abelow, who sold his extensive portfolio of patents to holding firm Lodsys in 2004. Lodsys is indeed the company issuing the threats of a lawsuit regarding the patent in question.

Computer LogiX is not the only App Store developer being hit with threats of a lawsuit, as Cult of Mac notes that James Thomson, the developer behind PCalc, has been hit with a similar notice. While Thomson has not identified the company pursuing the action, the timing and details suggest that Lodsys is also responsible.
"Just got hit by very worrying threat of patent infringement lawsuit for using in-app purchase in PCalc Lite. Legal docs arrived via fedex," Thomson wrote.

"No idea what to do... They seem to be effectively claiming the rights to in-app purchase, but going after me, not Apple."
Thomson has reached out to Apple for guidance, and it remains to be seen how things will play out. According to Thomson, the patent holder is demanding that a license be negotiated within 21 days or a lawsuit will be filed.

At least one other developer is cited in the report as receiving similar notice of patent infringement, and that total will almost certainly grow as awareness of the situation increases, so it appears that the action is a relatively widespread one by Lodsys.

Notably, Lodsys cited the same patent, among others, when it filed suit against a host of major printer companies earlier this year.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

43 months ago
Has anyone patented air yet? Now that I've mentioned it I better rush down to the patent office ...

You should all stop breathing until I get this matter settled or I may have to back-charge you for material consumed. :rolleyes:
Rating: 18 Votes
43 months ago
I hope Apple steps in and eviscerates the patent troll.
Rating: 15 Votes
43 months ago
Now these are trolls. A letter or two from Apple Legal would make them piss their pants I suspect.
Rating: 14 Votes
43 months ago

I bet they think that going after small companies will make this easier for them.

But this is definitely something that will get Apple's attention. I wonder how well their shakedown plan will go once they have a billion-dollar company breathing down their neck.


The model seems to be the same as Righthaven's. Threaten to sue small time devs, and extort a license fee, as the cost of defending it court will be much higher.

Rating: 12 Votes
43 months ago
Hey Loda(*****)sys... I got two middle fingers and they are pointed directly at you. Get a life and stop bothering hard working people. Idiots.
Rating: 10 Votes
43 months ago
I think the key to stopping this is not to be defensive, but for Apple to launch a war of total destruction. Stage one would be to show prior art. Programs distributed by BBS and disks handed from person to person were doing this as early as the 1980's. Just download the program, then enter your payment code to unlock the full version and remove the nag screen.

The next stage is to find something you can sue these guys for and run them out of business. If they have no vulnerabilities, find prior art on every patent they own, then out compete them in every market they are in.

companies that own real IP should have the right to protect their IP. Companies like this give patent holders a very bad name.

I vote for a spontaneous existence failure.
Rating: 9 Votes
43 months ago
normally these lawsuits are legit, but the 1990's and probably the 80's as well had a huge shareware fad. you download software and buy a key to unlock it
Rating: 9 Votes
43 months ago
Sheesh. Each day it's becoming more apparent that the patent system simply hasn't yet adapted to industrialized society.
Rating: 9 Votes
43 months ago
Hmm...... I'm thinking about filing a patent for the "Post Reply" button.

I hope Apple helps these devs out.
Rating: 8 Votes
43 months ago
It looks like they've patented the act of buying things, what a fantastic idea :cool:
Rating: 8 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]