Lodsys Responds to Controversy Over iOS Developer Lawsuit Threats


Last late week, we reported that patent holding firm Lodsys had apparently begun targeting small iOS developers with notices of patent infringement for providing in-app purchase and/or App Store purchase links within their apps. Lodsys was requesting that the developers obtain a license within 21 days or face the prospect of a lawsuit.

Lodsys has finally written publicly about the notices, putting together a blog offering responses to a number of questions about the company's actions. Among the interesting revelations:

- In addressing claims that the patents being used by Lodsys are overly broad and obvious and should never have been granted in the first place, Lodsys argues that with the patents dating back nearly 20 years, that much hindsight naturally makes such inventions seem obvious.

- The company also seeks to defend its business model as the most efficient way to handle intellectual property licensing for small inventors such as Dan Abelow, who filed the patents in question. While some have criticized Lodsys for pursuing licensing rights for technology it neither invented nor directly uses, the company argues that its existence creates efficiencies that improve the level of innovation, noting that Abelow was able to sell off his rights to the patents in order to focus on new inventions rather than having to focus on the task of licensing. In passing that responsibility off to another entity, each party is able to focus on what they do best and extract value from inventions.

Apple Already a Licensee?

- Lodsys is targeting developers not because it is seeking to put pressure on Apple, as Apple has already licensed the intellectual property for use in its own products and services, as have Google and Microsoft. Lodsys states that each developer should be responsible for licensing the technology in individual apps, rather than Apple being responsible for an overarching agreement, making an analogy that a hotel owner rather than the owner of the land beneath the hotel is responsible for all services provided to guests.

Licensing Terms

- Lodsys' proposed licensing terms equal 0.575% of U.S. revenue for in-app upgrades, with developers also being responsible for past usage.

In the case of an Application doing an in-application upgrade (and only this scenario), Lodsys is seeking 0.575% of US revenue over for the period of the notice letter to the expiration of the patent, plus applicable past usage. So on an application that sells US$1m worth of sales in a year, the licensee would have an economic exposure of $5,750 per year.

Death Threats "Seriously Uncool"

- Finally, Lodsys notes that it has received a significant amount of hate mail and even death threats from a number of parties, apparently even including those developers who have received notice of licensing requirements. Calling the death threats in particular "seriously uncool", Lodsys argues that such behavior doesn't help the situation and that the company, like the developers, is simply trying to sell its products and make a profit.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
123 months ago
This is utter nonsense.

Apple provides THE SERVICE OF IN-APP PURCHASES. How is that even remotely similar to "the land beneath a hotel"? More like the crew that built the place.

Really hoping Apple does the right thing here and tells them off. There's no reason developers should have to go through this kind of legal idiocy over a technology ALREADY owned by their sales system (in this case, Apple).

Should we conclude from this that Amazon make every individual seller license their "1-Click" technology? Even though they already sell on Amazon?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
123 months ago
just gave me an idea...

20 years ago? I need to get on writing some really vague patents about robots and computerized cars and other future stuff. If I write enough, some of them have to come true. Then I can sell the rights off to some POS company and let them make all the money off of my ideas. As if small businesses needed any more 'taxes'. They have enough to worry about competing with the big guys.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
123 months ago
Sounds like a lot of rationalization for acting like a pathetic patent troll. The part about "extracting value from a patent" is priceless.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
123 months ago
"...a hotel owner rather than the owner of the land beneath the hotel is responsible for all services provided to guests."

And the non-sequitur of the month award goes to...
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
123 months ago
Don't blame the patent trolls for a broken patent system. Could have been fixed long ago but no one has had the political scrotum to do so. So lets enjoy the histrionics its after all so much fun watching as well as paying for it.:(
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
123 months ago
Now, these guys do seem like a bunch of losers looking for a payday, this line just made me crack up.

Calling the death threats in particular "seriously uncool", Lodsys argues that such behavior doesn't help the situation and that the company, like the developers, is simply trying to sell its products and make a profit.


Yeah, death threats are "seriously uncool" but then again so is being a troll. Not saying that the death threats were justified, just the way it's worded just made me laugh.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Pro Demand Higher Than Expected

Sunday October 18, 2020 10:39 pm PDT by
TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a research note this morning detailing what he's seen with the volume of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pre-orders in the first weekend of sales. Kuo had previously indicated that Apple's estimated shipment allocations for the new iPhone models placed the iPhone 12 at the top with 40-45% of inventory allocation (up from 15-20%). However, ...

Apple's New MagSafe Charger and Cases Begin Arriving to Customers

Saturday October 17, 2020 10:10 am PDT by
Apple's new MagSafe charger and cases have begun arriving to some customers earlier than expected, and images of the accessories have started to surface on Twitter. The photos provide a first look at the products in real-world use. As of writing, some MagSafe cases are also available for pickup at select Apple Stores in countries like the United States, Canada, and Germany. Filip...

HomePod Mini Cable is Non-Detachable, Ends With USB-C Connector for Use With Included 20W Power Adapter

Friday October 16, 2020 12:45 pm PDT by
While not detailed in the tech specs, MacRumors can confirm that Apple's new HomePod mini features a non-detachable power cable that ends with a USB-C connector for use with the 20W power adapter included in the box. With the switch to USB-C, the HomePod mini could potentially be powered by a wider range of devices and peripherals, ranging from MacBooks to USB-C battery packs with enough...

Samsung Mocks Apple for Ditching Power Adapters With iPhone 12 Lineup

Thursday October 15, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Samsung on its social channels is mocking Apple for removing the power adapter from the iPhone 12 lineup and other iPhone models, pointing out the fact that the Samsung Galaxy smartphones continue to ship with a power adapter. "Included with your Galaxy," reads a Samsung Facebook post that features a picture of a power adapter. Apple notably is no longer providing power adapters or...

New Google App Feature Lets You Hum a Song to Search for It

Saturday October 17, 2020 4:05 am PDT by
Google has added a new feature to its Search app that allows you to hum a song that's stuck in your head, and then use the company's machine learning algorithm to try and identify it. In the Google app or using the Google Search widget, tap the mic icon and say "what's this song?" or click the "Search a song" button. Then start humming the tune for 10-15 seconds. When you're done, the...

Brazilian Certifications Suggest iPhone 12 Mini Features 2,227mAh Battery and iPhone 12 Has 2,815mAh Battery

Friday October 16, 2020 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone mini has the shortest battery life out of all the iPhones in the iPhone 12 lineup due to its small size, but Apple has not provided public information about the battery's capacity. A regulatory filing from Brazil, however, suggests the iPhone 12 mini has a battery capacity of 2,227mAh. The same regulatory information says the iPhone 12 features a 2,815mAh battery, which is...

iPhone 12 Pro Pre-Orders Already Selling Out With Delivery Times Pushing Into November

Friday October 16, 2020 6:35 am PDT by
Apple today opened pre-orders for the 6.1-inch models of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro through its website and the Apple Store app, and estimated delivery times are already slipping into November for select configurations in the United States. Customers ordering a SIM-free/Pacific Blue/128GB version of the iPhone 12 Pro, for example, are already facing an estimated delivery window of...

Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Charger for iPhone 12

Monday October 19, 2020 11:54 am PDT by
Alongside the new iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a MagSafe charger that attaches to the back of the iPhones using magnets embedded both in the charger and in the iPhone. It allows for speedier charging and paves the way for a portless iPhone in the future. MagSafe chargers are shipping out and are in some Apple retail locations now, and we picked one up to check it out. Subscribe to the ...

Apple Offering Free AirPods With iPhone 11 Purchase in India as Part of Diwali Celebration

Friday October 16, 2020 12:35 pm PDT by
Apple today launched a new Diwali promotion in India that will see the company providing customers with a set of AirPods with the purchase of any iPhone 11 model. The new iPhone 12 models are not part of the promotion. Apple is offering the standard AirPods With Charging Case free with purchase, but customers can choose to upgrade to the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case or the AirPods Pro....