Apple's annual developer conference in San Francisco.
Lodsys Free to Continue Patent Threats Against Developers After Judge Tosses Apple's Legal Challenge
Now, after two years of litigation, it's back to square one. The East Texas judge overseeing Lodsys' systematic patent attack on app developers has refused to even consider Apple's motion. Instead, he allowed the patent-holding company to settle all its cases—and then dismissed Apple's motion as moot. By doing so, US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap—who has inherited the patent-happy East Texas court that once belonged to patent-troll favorite T. John Ward—has enabled Lodsys to threaten developers for months, and perhaps even years, to come.The legal actions by Lodsys originally started in May 2011, where the firm threatened to sue App Store developers over In-App Purchases and upgrade links, claiming that it had a patent to the process which was originally filed in December 2003 as a part of series of continuations on earlier patent applications dating to 1992. The patent in question was credited to Dan Abelow, who sold the patent portfolio to Lodsys in 2004. The move prompted Apple to back developers against the patent threats, stating that iOS developers were “undisputedly licensed” later that month in 2011.
At that point, Lodsys also targeted Android developers with patent infringement claims, and Apple eventually filed a motion to intervene within the Lodsys lawsuits. While Apple was granted limited permission in April 2012 to intervene in the Lodsys case, this permission was overturned today.
This past April, Lodsys specifically targeted Disney’s “Where’s My Water?” title among others in a new round of lawsuits over in-app purchasing, stating that Disney had infringed its ’565 and ‘078 patents had been infringed upon by the entertainment corporation. However, Lodsys agreed last month to dismiss a patent case against developer Todd More, for a charitable donation. Overall, Apple has been the number one target for patent trolls with 171 cases in five years, with U.S. President Barack Obama targeting patent trolls such as Lodsys, announcing proposed legislative changes this past June.