Apple Moves to Intervene in Lodsys Patent Lawsuits

Legal ScalesApple filed a motion on Thursday to intervene in the patent infringement lawsuits Lodsys has brought against several iPhone and iPad app developers. The Cupertino-based company also filed a counterclaim asserting that it, along with third party iOS app developers, are properly licensed to use the technology the Lodsys patents cover.

The filing stated, in part, “Apple has an interest in property that is at the center of this dispute, namely, its license to the patents in suit and its business with the developers, which depends on their use of products and services that Apple is expressly licensed under the patents in suit to offer them,” according to Foss Patents.

Lodsys gained notoriety in the Apple and Google communities by sending letters to independent app developers alleging they in-app purchase systems they use infringe on patents it holds. After Apple’s legal team sent Lodsys CEO Mark Small a letter stating that it properly licensed the patents for itself and third parties, the company filed lawsuits against seven different developers.

Apple’s filing will come as good news to the developers Lodsys is targeting since the Mac, iPhone and iPad maker has far more resources at its disposal to fight the claims in court.

In addition to landing in the line of fire of Apple’s legal team, Lodsys is facing another courtroom battle that alleges its patents aren’t valid. ForeSee Results filed its claims against the patent holding company after several of its clients, including Best Buy, Adidas and WE Energies, after Lodsys said they were infringing on its technology, too.

As if that isn’t enough to keep the Lodsys dance card full, it is also dealing with patent invalidation filings from  Brother, Canon, HP, Hulu, Lenovo, Lexmark, Motorola Mobility, Samsung, and Trend Micro. Those companies all claimed the Lodsys patents were invalid after being served with infringement suits for their printer products.

Even though Apple has filed its motion to intervene, however, that doesn’t mean the company can step in and take over the fight against Lodsys. The court still has to approve Apple’s request before the company can move forward.