Apple Granted Limited Permission to Intervene in Lodsys Case
Last year, patent holding firm Lodsys took on app developers using Apple's In App Purchase system for iOS, suing a number of large and small developers over their implementation of the feature in their apps. Apple stepped forward to assist its developers by claiming that its existing licensing arrangement with Lodsys protected developers, but Lodsys has persisted in its efforts to require licensing by the developers as well.
In mid-June, Apple filed a motion to intervene in Lodsys' lawsuits against the developers, seeking to officially represent itself as both a defendant in the case and a plaintiff asserting counterclaims against Lodsys. Lodsys opposed the motion, and there has been little news on the progress of the lawsuits over the past nine months.
FOSS Patents now reports that Apple has just been granted limited permission to intervene in the case, with a judge allowing Apple to participate with regards to licensing arrangements.
In early August, Apple insisted that its motion should be granted. But for a long time, nothing happened with respect to Apple's motion. In the meantime, the judge originally presiding over the case resigned. Today, finally, Apple's motion was granted in part: "Apple is permitted to intervene in this suit, but such intervention is limited to the issues of patent exhaustion and licensing."
Judge Rodney Gilstrap concluded that Apple was entitled to intervene, and in any event, a permissive intervention (one that the court can allow in its discretion) was also an option.
While some of the defendants have already settled with Lodsys, it now appears that Apple will have an opportunity to demonstrate for the court that its licensing agreements with Lodsys preclude the patent holder from also demanding royalties from developers using the intellectual property already licensed by Apple.