Lodsys also threatens Android developers with legal action over in-app purchases

“Developers have reported that patent holding firm Lodsys is also targeting Android apps,” Electronista reports.

“Those who’ve used the new Android in-app purchasing have been sent the same letters claiming that they infringe on patents,” Electronista reports. “As with the iOS cases, the notices are focusing on smaller developers that would be less likely to have a chance of fighting back.”

Electronista reports, “The attempts may not be any more successful than with iOS developers. Apple sent an ultimatum to Lodsys asserting that its existing license for the patent claims already covered all developers. Google has a similar license for the Lodsys patent and could also assert its ownership. It so far has remained silent…”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Full text: Apple Legal’s letter to Lodsys – May 23, 2011
Apple: iOS developers already licensed for Lodsys patents – May 23, 2011
EFF calls on to Apple defend iOS developers in Lodsys legal threats – May 21, 2011
Following Lodsys legal threats, Apple reportedly stops approving iOS apps with In-App Purchases – May 18, 2011
Lodsys defends legal threats: Apple is licensed, iOS developers are not – May 16, 2011
Lodsys threatens Apple App Store devs with lawsuit over In-App Purchases – May 13, 2011

15 Comments

  1. No problem. Google has licensed the patent with rights extending to all of their developers, offering protection… Oh wait. Not likely.

  2. This whole building a platform and giving it away thing must be getting old for Google.

    Just like chasing Sony and Apple and Google has damaged Microsoft in their core markets over the last decade, Google will spend the next decade chasing the wrong market.

    1. Google has vast financial resources available to it. The scale at which it can spend on projects which give marginal financial returns beggars our understanding. The same with Microsoft – they have the cash to spend on vanity projects.

      But doing so over the long term will eat into your company’s core beliefs because managers are not thought to think through a project to create revenue scoring opportunities. That has a pro & con to it as without blue sky projects how do you discover the next big thing.

      No doubt Google has cut many corners in realising the Android project, pilfering intellectual property where it can, but for now Apple has to live with it and out innovate Google by deploying the vast returns it gets from selling iOS devices to create better leading edge products.

      Steve Jobs himself said that you cannot prevent your competitors from copying you – it’s a fact of life. He said this during a presentation given by venture capitalists at the Segway meeting in which Jeff Bezos was present.

      1. That’s exactly it. It has nothing to do with the money. It’s about focus.

        If Google had instead put that amount of talent and energy into a voice-based, location-aware, ai-driven search app that was available on all platforms, wouldn’t they have achieved their real objective while strengthening their core market?

        Android is a very costly red herring. It will ultimately erode the empire instead of bolstering it.

  3. It didn’t take long for them to figure it out… Apple was the wrong target, as soon as the Apple Legal smackdown letter arrived, they tried to figure out: “What now?”, and the logical answer presented itself.

    Normally, I very much despise those patent holders who never actually made anything using those patents, and never created and patented anything themselves, and I would hope for a company like Lodsys to go down in flames.

    In this situation, however, I might make exception; as sleazy as Lodsys patent trolls are, Android as a platform certainly deserves a serious legal slap, even if it does come from sleazeballs such as these guys.

    1. I have to disagree – the folks getting hurt in this will end up being the small developers. Google is far less likely than Apple to stand up for its developers.

      Yes, this would put a big crimp on Android development, and would provide more of an opening for more worthy competitors (such as WebOS). But it’s the small developers who are going to get sacrificed to make that happen. That’s not an acceptable trade-off to me.

      1. You may be right, to some extent. Some developers, who for whatever reasons chose to develop for Android (rather than for iOS), will end up getting burnt. If they can afford it, they will abandon the platform and focus on iOS.

        At this point, a potential mobile developer will ask himself, which platform to develop for? A year ago, Android was attractive for the gold-rush, first-mover types, in order to take advantage of the relative dearth of apps, compared to the iOS. Today, when Android already has upwards of 200,000 apps, this opportunity is no longer there. So, if you are developer, you are choosing between a platform where there is a fairly big company behind you, and a platform where you may be a target.

        The fact that Lodsys is suing Android developers might discourage may of those developing meaningful apps. While this may hurt some of these developers, ultimately it WILL hurt the platform, too.

      2. “I have to disagree – the folks getting hurt in this will end up being the small developers.”

        They chose their googly bed…now they can sleep in it.

  4. Google WILL step up too, I predict. All they have to do is copy Apple Legal’s letter to Lodsis… Do you think they have it in them to shamelessly copy what Apple does? 😉

      1. Not to mention that the letter can only work if Google actually made a licensing agreement with Lodsys, exactly in the way Apple did.

        Something tells me that, while Apple carefully did their due diligence and quietly made independent agreements with patent holders of all potentially infringing solutions in their iOS APIs, Google likely didn’t bother much.

  5. I can’t believe your fear mongering. Look, it’s not just going to be small developers marked for infringement. It’s all developers, even though they only sent letters to smaller ones here. Obviously they won’t send over a 100 k letters to all Android App developers. That’s why the developers in question can hit the ignore button and carry on. If Lodsys sues, they’ll have to sue all the developers using in App purchases.

    But the way it looks, developers will likely be off the hook because of EULA with Google and Apple granting them permission to use in-app purchasing. In fact, Apple requires it. In-App purchases are so much a part of Android and iOS it’s a feature. So Lodsys is likely going to have to sue Google and Apple, not individual developers. And we all know Sapple’s response.

    Thus, it looks like Lodsys is trying to create fear among developers and for that they’re full of shit.

    1. “That’s why the developers in question can hit the ignore button and carry on. If Lodsys sues, they’ll have to sue all the developers using in App purchases.”

      Not true. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Patent holders can legally pick and choose their targets – weaker ones, for example, who can’t afford to defend themselves in court. They can ignore infringement for years, then bring a suit. They are not required to sue everyone who infringes. You seem to be getting patent law confused with trademark law (or something else?).

      Developers who ignore Lodsys may be sued and have to defend themselves in court, unless someone else (Apple/Google) gives Lodsys a reason to back off. Even if the developer should win that defense (invalid patent, non-infringement, etc.), that defense will cost a lot of money.

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