Lodsys: Apple’s Interest in Patent Battle Only Economic

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Lodsys has filed a motion arguing against Apple’s request to intervene on behalf of iPhone and iPad app makers in the patent holder’s infringement suit. According to the documents Lodsys filed with the court, Apple’s interest in the case is only economic, and there isn’t a valid legal reason why Apple should be allowed to participate in the case.

Apple filed the motion in June after Lodsys began suing developers over allegations that they were using its in-app purchase concept without paying patent license fees. Apple claimed the licensing fees it paid for the App Store cover third-party developers as well since they are simply tapping into a system it put in place.

Lodsys doesn't want Apple playing in its patent lawsuit gameLodsys to Apple: Stay out of our court room.

Lodsys doesn’t think Apple has any legal interest in the lawsuits, and is looking to get the Cupertino-based company’s motion dismissed or at least postponed during a discovery period, according to Foss Patents.

“Lodsys’s opposition to Apple’s motion is at least going to cause further delay. Apple will now have the chance to file a reply defending its motion against Lodsys’s opposition, and then there will probably be a hearing and, certainly, a decision,” Florian Meuller said on Foss Patents. “It may take several more weeks until app developers know whether Apple is admitted as an intervenor.”

iPhone, iPad and iPod touch app developers came under fire in June when Lodsys began filing lawsuits against them alleging they were violating patents it owns by using the in-app purchase system Apple offers as part of the App Store. Apple has maintained that the license fees it pays cover app developers, and that Lodsys doesn’t have any basis for its claims.

For its part, Lodsys disagrees. “Unfortunately for Developers, Apple’s claim of infallibility has no discernable basis in law or fact,” the company said.

There isn’t any word yet from the court on when to expect a ruling on Apple’s request to join the legal battle.

Comments

MOSiX Man

Whereas Lodsys’ interest in trying to #*%# over a lot of small developers is purely ethical.

geoduck

DUH!
This is corporations fighting with each other Economics is the ONLY thing in play here.

Nemo

What is cool here is that we may get to see Apple’s license for the Lodsys patents at issue.  The easiest way to undercut Lodsys’ argument is for Apple to argue that it has legal standing because its license for the patents at issue grants third-party license rights to its iOS developers, and to argue that, you have to show the judge the license and show him why and how the language of the license authorizes iOS developers to practice the patents, at least when developing for iOS apps for the App Store. 

If the judge decides that interpretation of the scope of the license’s language is purely a question of contract interpretation, then that is a question of law that belongs solely to the court and is not a question of fact for the jury.  If it comes down to interpreting the legal effect and scope of the license, this could be over quickly.

Of course, the scope of Apple’s license could also depend on matters of fact, but if that is the case, as I understand the law, the judge should let Apple in to fully develop and argue the record as a third-party defendant, at least until the record can establish whether Apple has standing to participate in the case, because there is no one else that can fully and properly represent Apple’s interest in a manner that comports with due process and the legal requirement of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that a party in interest, whose legal interest could be determined by the outcome of case, be permitted to participate in the case as a party.

jfbiii

Hmmmm could Apple straight up buy one or more of the developers and then contest when Lodsys files to dismiss against only them?

Robbo

what would it take for apple to reduce their take of the pot and indirectly fund the royalty, or is that to far a suggestion for Apple to consider?

Nemo

Dear jfbiii:  That’s not bad, but you wouldn’t do it by purchasing developers.  And it is premature.  Apple needn’t go so far, unless it loses on the argument that its license covers its iOS developers.

And Dear Robbo:  Apple is already running the App Store at near breakeven at its 30% commission, so there isn’t any fat in that commission to pay a royalty, without Apple soon having to run the App Store at a loss.  Of course, if a royalty had to be paid and if Apple were to pay it, Apple, if choose to continue run the App Store at breakeven and not at a loss, would probably have to increase its commission beyond 30%.  But once again, talk of royalties is premature, as we haven’t yet litigated Apple’s claim that its license covers its iOS developers.

gnasher729

Hmmmm could Apple straight up buy one or more of the developers and then contest when Lodsys files to dismiss against only them?

what would it take for apple to reduce their take of the pot and indirectly fund the royalty, or is that to far a suggestion for Apple to consider?

Have a look at this link http://www.applepatent.com/2011/06/lodsys-anatomy-of-bullshit-claim-chart.html where someone examines what the Lodsys patent actually says. Beyond the inconvenience of being sued, there is no need for any developers to worry that they might actually be infringing.

The patent covers the case where someone sells a computer product, the computer product collects feedback about the computer product, and then sends the feedback to a server of the vendor of that computer product. The “computer product” in question can only be the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. So does anyone write software that collects feedback about the iPhone and sends that information to Apple? I don’t think so.

Nemo

Dear gnasher729:  You have good points.  Though Apple may be precluded by licensing provisions from defending on the grounds that Lodsys’ patents are either invalid or are not being infringed or both, other wealthy defendants with a sufficient stake in the fight, such as Rovio, can and will defend on those grounds.  One win on either of those grounds will establish a useful, if not dispositive, precedent that others can use.

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