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Patent holder's demand for license fees from iOS developers sparks outcry

Matt Hamblen, Computerworld | May 17, 2011
A David vs. Goliath battle has emerged in a patent dispute between small independent iOS application developers and a Texas-based patent holding company called Lodsys.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Also in its blog, Lodsys argued it "wants people to use the rights in [its] products and services, not to stop using it. Our goal is to popularize the technology, have it used by many people and to make relatively small amounts per licensee..."

In response, some independent developers and at least one popular intellectual property activist believe the move by Lodsys jeopardizes the overall mobile apps ecosystem.

That activist, Florian Mueller, has followed more than 40 smartphone-related patent lawsuits filed in the past year by major smartphone patent holders. He blogged on Monday that Lodsys is a "patent troll...seeking to justify its business model of asserting patents against defenseless little app developer

s."

Mueller, who is based in Germany and doesn't legally represent any of the iOS developers or parties in the smartphone lawsuits added: "While the major mobile platform makers like Apple, Google, Microsoft and RIM are unanimously in favor of software patents, I don't think they would want to see countless app developers go out of business. They don't just court those developers for no reason with all their evangelists, conferences, and occasional freebies."

Mueller concluded: "The ball is in Apple's court."

 

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