Lodsys Free to Continue Patent Threats Against Developers After Judge Tosses Apple's Legal Challenge

Following the ongoing legal threats to iOS developers by patent holding firm Lodsys, an East Texas judge has tossed Apple’s original legal challenge of the patent firm, ruling that Lodsys is free to settle all its cases, reports Ars Technica.

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.

lodsys_logo_2012 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.

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Top Rated Comments

1984 Avatar
139 months ago
It's pretty clear after several years of hearing about this Eastern Texas Court giving consistent rulings in favor of the patent trolls that they are corrupt so why isn't anything being done about it? Patent trolls always file there because they know they will always win there. Every time there is an article there it is, like clockwork. :confused:
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleMark Avatar
139 months ago
In App purchases have gone from a reasonable supplementary revenue stream for developers, to an abomination.

With the amount now being charged for IAP's these day, I think Lodsys are not the only trolls under the bridge.

I have no sympathy for the Dev's who are actually charging for an App then getting kids [and adult's] to pay up to £60+ for useless gem packs and upgrades etc.

At least if an App is free, I know not to bother downloading it as it will invariably be full of adverts and IAP con-tricks.

It has all become like those awful UK holiday resort chains (you know who they are), who get kids to pump arcade machines with money to obtain tokens, who's prize value is a fraction of the money you paid.

So if the Dev's are abusing the system [making huge amounts of money from it] and ruining the spirit of the original idea, what is so different to what Lodsys is doing?

They can all burn in patent hell.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iMcLovin Avatar
139 months ago
That Lodsys logo is so bad and amateurish its funny.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macbeta Avatar
139 months ago
Software patents = troll fodder

I wish big company's like apple would take a stance against software patents, until they stop doing it themselves, there is always going to be fodder for trolls.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pavinder Avatar
139 months ago
]Here's one of their patents they are suing by. Must be a joke: http://www.google.com/patents/US7620565
How can anyone justify a patent on a concept without any implementation?

Does this really mean that anybody can conceive anything (including broad general concepts) which may possibly exist in the future (even if it cannot yet be created with today's technology) and then patent it? Ridiculous.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pyrrhic Victory Avatar
139 months ago
I love how people argue that without patents, nobody would invent anything. Because nobody ever invented anything before patent offices started sprouting up, right?

The whole system is one giant waste of time. Intellectual property doesn't exist. You can't own something that you can't define with objective criteria. Inventing something shouldn't require a slew of lawyers. All that does is make people less productive. Don't want somebody selling "your" product that you invented? Lock in your customers with long-term contracts with escalators. Be creative. Making a law to entitle people to something that doesn't exist is the most backwards idea I've ever heard.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)