Lodsys Scrambles in Effort to Keep Apple Out of Court

Lodsys has thrown together what looks to be a weak defense in hopes of keeping Apple from intervening on behalf of iOS app developers in its patent licensing lawsuit. The patent holder contends that even though Apple has already licensed its technology related to in-app purchases.

Lodsys: Wah!Lodsys presents flimsy argument to keep Apple out of its case

Lodsys gained notoriety after sending letters to independent iOS app developers alleging they used in-app purchase systems that 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. The list of companies Lodsys is suing has since grown to more than 35.

Apple responded by filing a motion to intervene in the patent infringement lawsuits on behalf of the named iPhone and iPad app developers. Apple’s legal team 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 motion to intervene 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.”

The counter argument from Lodsys, according to Groklaw, “comes across as legal gibberish.”

Lodsys argued that Apple shouldn’t be allowed to intervene because at least one of the defendants in its lawsuit will challenge the validity of the patents. The company goes on to say that it isn’t even a licensor to Apple because it obtained the patents in question after Apple had already signed a deal with the previous holder.

The first argument Lodsys presented doesn’t seem to be worth even trying to dissect, so it’s on to the second: Who licensed the patents to Apple

Webvention held the patents in question when Apple signed a licensing deal, and when it sold them to Lodsys, the licenses that were already in place transfered as part of the deal. The Lodsys argument that it didn’t license the patents to Apple, therefore the company shouldn’t be allowed to intervene on behalf of the defendants, won’t likely stand up in court, and it’s a safe bet Apple’s legal team won’t have any trouble tearing apart that claim in very short order.

Lodsys doesn’t want Apple involved in the case most likely because the Cupertino company has the legal resources to mount a strong defense — unlike most of the developers it is suing. With it’s flimsy arguments, however, Lodsys should probably start preparing to square off with Apple in court because there’s a good chance that its claims won’t be enough to stop a judge from ruling in Apple’s favor.