Last week patent holding firm Lodsys began targeting small iOS developers with notices of patent infringement for providing in-app purchase and/or Apple App Store purchase links within their apps.
The company said developers had to obtain a license within 21 days or face the prospect of a lawsuit. Lodsys was criticized by some for targeting app and website publishers instead of Apple itself.
In an online blog (http://www.lodsys.com/blog.html) the company has this to say: ” The economic gains provided by the Lodsys inventions (increase in revenue through additional sales, or decrease in costs to service the customer) are being enjoyed by the business that provides the product or service that interacts with the user. Since Lodsys patent rights are of value to that overall solution, it is only fair to get paid by the party that is accountable for the entire solution and which captures the value (rather than a technology supplier or a retailer).
“As a comparative example, it is the owner of the hotel who is responsible for the overall service (value proposition) that guests pay for, not the owner of the land that the hotel may be leasing, not the travel agent that sold the reservation, not the manufacturer of tools such as hammers, nor the provider of materials such as nails or steel beams, which may be used in building the hotel; nor is it the outsourced linen washing service or the architect of the building who is responsible. Lodsys’ patent portfolio is being used as a part of an overall solution and we are seeking to be paid for the use of patent rights by the accountable party.
“As an extended metaphor, in the hotel example, no one would expect the architect to not be paid, or for the nails to come for free. They get paid some subset of the overall value, but they get paid for their contribution to the solution under an agreement they have with the hotel owner.”