Apple has gone to court to defend its iOS developers against a Lodsys lawsuit. As reported by “Fortune” (http://macte.ch/WuXTA), Apple filed a motion Thursday in the same Texas federal court where Lodsys filed a suit nine days ago.
“Apple Inc. hereby respectfully moves to intervene as a defendant and counterclaim plaintiff in the above-captioned action brought by plaintiff Lodsys, LLC against seven software application developers for allegedly infringing U.S. Patent Nos. 7,222,078 and 7,620,565,” says the motion. “Apple seeks to intervene because it is expressly licensed to provide to the Developers products and services that embody the patents in suit, free from claims of infringement of those patents.”
Lodsys is one of several so-called “patent trolls” that have been filing infringement suits against developers too small and poor to pay the legal fees it costs to fight them, notes “Fortune.” The patents in the iOS brouhaha were two that Apple claims it had already licensed on behalf of its developers.
Last month Lodsys filed suit against seven developers for patent infringement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The patent holding firm has been 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 has been criticized by some for targeting app and website publishers instead of Apple itself.
On May 22, Apple’s chief lawyer Bruce Sewell announced that Apple’s license to the Lodsys patents gave Apple’s third party developers complete and “undisputable” freedom to use the covered inventions without paying royalties or fearing lawsuits.
“Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patents and the App Makers are protected by that license,” Sewell wrote.”Thus the technology that is targeted in your notice letters is technology that Apple is expressly licensed under the Lodsys patents to offer to Apple’s App Makers. These licensed products and services enable Apple’s App Makers to communicate with end users through the use of Apple’s own licensed hardware, software, APIs, memory, servers, and interfaces, including Apple’s App Store. Because Apple is licensed under Lodsys’ patents to offer such technology to its App Makers, the App Makers are entitled to use this technology free from any infringement claims by Lodsys.”
— Dennis Sellers