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Lodsys sues developers over Apple patent infringement

Dan Moren, | May 31, 2011
If you thought that the news that Apple was backing its iOS developers would scare off the patent-infringement allegations of intellectual property firm Lodsys, think again. On Tuesday, Lodsys filed suit against seven developers for patent infringement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The company also once again took to its website to clarify its position and restate its earlier claims.

And the intellectual property firm isn't restricting its tactics to the courtroom, either. Of the several posts to Lodsys's website on Tuesday, the most interesting is probably "What is the platform promise?," which veers into a more philosophical realm:

The real debate is what promise [Apple, Google, and other platform providers] are making to third-party developers who choose to develop applications on that platform and what kind and scope of IP rights will be included (or more likely, not).

The post reads as a somewhat clumsy attempt to drive a wedge between Apple and its developers by suggesting that not only is Apple's liability in legal matters limited, but also that the company doesn't care about its developers.

That's a tone reflected in another of Lodsys' posts, addressing the question of "Why are you targeting Apple developers or Android developers? Why are you picking on small developers who cannot defend themselves?", in which Lodsys suggests that its motivation is simply "to get paid for [its] rights," whereas there's "a more complicated set of motivations" for the platform providers and developers.

Whether these sorts of psychological argument will pay off -- presumably by convincing developers to license Lodsys's patents -- is unclear, but by taking the matter to the courts, Lodsys has clearly said that the next move belongs to Apple and developers.


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