Court OKs Apple Intervention in Lodsys App Developer Patent Suit

Apple vs. LodsysApple has been allowed to intervene on behalf of iOS developers in a patent lawsuit being pursued by patent firm Lodsys. Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas ruled on a motion Apple had filed in June of 2011, allowing Apple’s limited involvement.

Lodsys is a patent holding company that owns a patent covering aspects of the in-app purchases in iOS and Android apps. Apple has licensed that patent from Lodsys, but Lodsys sued several app developers claiming infringement in their apps. Initially, Lodsys sued seven small developers, but eventually added larger developers like Angry Birds developer Roxio.

That prompted Apple to petition the court to allow it to intervene, saying in court documents that, “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.”

In other words, Apple is arguing that its patent license with Lodsys covers developers making apps for its operating system. Those apps, after all, are using tools provided by Apple’s operating system to enable in-app purchases, which are transacted by Apple itself.

It has taken more than nine months, but today’s ruling allows Apple to intervene, but, “such intervention is limited to the issues of patent exhaustion and licensing,” according to FOSS Patents.