Lodsys has been going after small-time iOS developers, sending them "notice" letters which claim the developers are infringing on one of Lodsys' patents for in-app purchasing technology. Lodsys is demanding that developers license the patent from them for 0.575% of the U.S. revenue generated using in-app purchases. Although Apple has licensed the patent itself, Lodsys explains via blog post that "the scope of [Apple's] licences does not enable them to provide 'pixie dust' to bless another third-party business applications [sic]."Patent-holding company
Apple's lawyers are said to be looking into the matter.
While the developer community waits to hear from Apple, there is much confusion about what's really going on here, and what should be done now. Below are a few sources that can help you better understand the Lodsys situation.
5 Links on Lodsys:
- What app developers need to know about Lodsys and the in-app upgrade button patent problem: From the FOSS Patents blog, Florian Mueller provides what may be the most detailed analysis of the situation to date in a long read divided into 19 sections that answer key questions developers may have, like "is Lodsys likely to sue or just bluffing?" and "should I just pay Lodsys its 0.575% royalty?" Note that this FAQ, while helpful, does not equate to legal advice.
- Lodsys, patents, and Apple: whats going on here?: From former Engadget editor Nilay Patel at the team's new outlet, This is My Next..., this summary presents the basic facts and a history of the patent as it changed hands over the years. You'll soon know everything you need to know about Lodsys, Dan Abelow (the original inventor of the technology) and '078 (the patent).
- Apple Patent Blog: This blog provides analysis of Apple patent applications, patents and patent-related legal activity. A section dedicated to the Lodsys situation is here, which will keep you up-to-date with the ongoing activity and what it all means.
- Patent Troll Lodsys: All We Want Is 0.575% Of The Entire Mobile In-App Payment Ecosystem, Is That So Wrong?: Analysis from Techdirt's Mike Masnick, op-ed style, examines the problems with the current patent system, with Lodsys used as a lens to understanding these issues. The burden on developers caused by these patent trolls (err, holders) is also clearly explained.
- Apple studies patent infringement claims by Lodsys: This news item from U.K.'s The Guardian is the only article (to date) to claim from first-hand information that Apple's legal department is indeed looking into Lodsys' claims. Stay tuned.
With the links and analysis provided in the above, iOS developers can arm themselves with information regarding the Lodsys situation, in advance of Apple's expected comments on the matter. If Apple chooses to remain silent (which would be odd), product engineer Mike Lee has another idea - an API boycott.