(Flickr/stefanedberg)
In Mid-May, several app developers, for both iOS and Android, received legal notification from a patent holding company named Lodsys, claiming that certain functions of their apps (such as the In-App Purchasing mechanism that Apple offers to developers) were in infringement of Lodsys patents.

After Lodsys filed lawsuits against seven iOS developers, Apple attempted to intervene on behalf of the defendants, but Lodsys has continued to send out legal threats to developers. Because of the way patent litigation is designed in the United States, it is frequently considerably cheaper to settle with patent-holders rather than fight it out in court -- even if the defendant believes they are right, because of the extraordinary costs involved with patent litigation.

This past weekend, Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents penned a lengthly article outlining what he believes is the most cost-effective strategy for developers who must deal with Lodsys. He makes it clear that his post isn't meant to be "legal advice" but it is a good starting point for smaller developers who might now know where to begin:

It's time to be pragmatic.

Lodsys won't go away quickly unless Apple and Google pay them many millions of dollars (which could happen anytime but might also never happen). Meanwhile, each app developer who faces this problem should make a rational and responsible decision -- even if it means to pay. So far there's no indication that Android developers can get away without paying, and iOS developers don't have a dependable basis for ignoring Lodsys's insistent demands.

Mueller's conclusion? License the patents to make Lodsys go away and get back to building great apps.

Lodsys is only a risk for you, not an opportunity to get rid of trolls or of software patents. Eliminate the risk now. Follow the two-step approach. Try to get coverage. If not (which is the most likely outcome), do a license deal. Do all of this with legal help, but don't let any lawyer persuade you of futile efforts. Pick the most direct path to a solution. Share the costs with other app developers. And when you've solved this problem, focus on more important, more interesting, more productive and more edifying things in life.

(Photo by Flickr/Stefanedberg)

Top Rated Comments

NebulaClash Avatar
144 months ago
He makes it clear that his post isn't meant to be "legal advice"

That's good, because Mueller is not a lawyer and most specifically not a patent lawyer. Note how often he gets details wrong when he discusses what patent cases mean or how they will proceed. He's being shot down by patent attorneys on the Web. So:

a) MacRumors should stop giving him credence on the subject of software patents.

b) Nobody should follow his advice without talking to a patent attorney. Talk to the experts, not the ones playing an expert on the Net.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mmcc Avatar
144 months ago
Pay this troll and you can be sure many more will spring to life, each sucking a little bit more of your productive life. It is the new high-tech business model of this century.

I'd rather remove features, or even withdraw a product, than pay a patent troll.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Alaerian Avatar
144 months ago
Lodsys isn't even a "real" company - they are a patent holding company. In other words, they're a complete shill.

It pisses me off that developers are basically losing to something that doesn't exist.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0815 Avatar
144 months ago
I would rather like to hear the advice from the Apple lawyers ....

For anyone getting targeted, the first action should probably be to contact Apples legal team and decide than based on their input.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnasher729 Avatar
144 months ago
Florian Müller is at it again, and MacRumors is giving him an audience again. Pathetic.

Here some slightly different take on the situation for Lodsys under the headline "This is going to get expensive... for Lodsys".

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20110705124738103
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NightFox Avatar
144 months ago
If they came at me, the first thing I would do would be to talk to my legal staff about putting the money into an escrow account while the legal action was taking place. The next thing would be to ask about starting a class action lawsuit with the intent of destroying Lodsys. My third action would be to start looking for prior art on every patent Loadsys owns.

Sometimes the best course of action is to destroy your opponent at all costs. This reduces the odds of some other jerk coming at you in the future (If you survive.)

When you're just one guy writing iOS apps in your study in the evenings, the couple of £100 you make from the App Store aren't going to go far towards funding that...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
original iphone 2007

15 Years Ago Today, the iPhone Went On Sale

Wednesday June 29, 2022 4:43 am PDT by
Fifteen years ago to this day, the iPhone, the revolutionary device presented to the world by the late Steve Jobs, officially went on sale. The first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and went on sale on June 29, 2007. "An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator... these are not three separate devices," Jobs famously said. "Today, Apple is going to reinvent the...
maxresdefault

Video Comparison: M2 MacBook Pro vs. M1 MacBook Pro

Tuesday June 28, 2022 2:45 pm PDT by
Apple last week launched an updated version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it is the first Mac that is equipped with an updated M2 chip. As it's using a brand new chip, we thought we'd pick up the M2 MacBook Pro and compare it to the prior-generation M1 MacBook Pro to see just what's new. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. For the video comparison, we're using the...
iPhone vs Galaxy Larger

Apple Executive Says Samsung Copied the iPhone and Simply 'Put a Bigger Screen Around It'

Tuesday June 28, 2022 8:59 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern today shared a new documentary about the evolution of the iPhone ahead of the 15th anniversary of the device launching on June 29, 2007. The documentary includes an interview with Apple's marketing chief Greg Joswiak, iPhone co-creator Tony Fadell, and a family of iPhone users. One segment of the interview reflects on Android smartphones gaining larger...
iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro vs. 14 Pro: New Features to Expect if You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday June 27, 2022 11:22 am PDT by
With many customers choosing to upgrade their iPhone every two or three years nowadays, there are lots of iPhone 11 Pro users who might be interested in upgrading to the iPhone 14 Pro later this year. Those people are in for a treat, as three years of iPhone generations equals a long list of new features and changes to look forward to. Below, we've put together a list of new features and...
Mac Studio IO

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished Mac Studio Models

Thursday June 30, 2022 7:42 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished Mac Studio models for the first time in the United States, Canada, and select European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, two refurbished Mac Studio configurations are currently available, including one with the M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 24-core GPU) for...
rootbug

Major macOS High Sierra Bug Allows Full Admin Access Without Password - How to Fix [Updated]

Tuesday November 28, 2017 12:33 pm PST by
There appears to be a serious bug in macOS High Sierra that enables the root superuser on a Mac with a blank password and no security check. The bug, discovered by developer Lemi Ergin, lets anyone log into an admin account using the username "root" with no password. This works when attempting to access an administrator's account on an unlocked Mac, and it also provides access at the login...