Lodsys sent a letter to application makers on May 13 saying they must pay the company for use of such technology as in-app payments. Today, Apple sent a letter to Lodsys saying the company has a "fundamental misapprehension regarding Apple's license and the way Apple's products work." Lodsys likens Apple to a landowner that a hotel is built on and the services provided are the responsibility of the hotel, not the landowner. Is Lodsys trying to sell the same bill of goods twice or are application developers liable to pay Lodsys for the patents outside of the services that Apple provides to them?
"Lodsys' patent portfolio is being used as a part of an overall solution and we are seeking to be paid for the use of patent rights by the accountable party," the company wrote in its blog that looks to have been set up on a website for the specific purpose of defending its patent allegations.
Lodsys owns four patents that it is saying application makers must pay to use, even though Apple already has a license on the patents that it says extends to developers.
Here are the services that Lodsys says it patents cover:
- provide online help, customer support, and tutorials
- conduct online subscription renewals
- provide for online purchasing of consumable supplies
- survey users for their impressions of their products and services
- assist customers to customize their products and services
- display interactive online advertisements
- collect information on how users actually use their products and services
- sell upgrades or complimentary products
- maintain products by providing users notice of available updates and assisting in the installation
That is a pretty broad list. Lodsys says that, in addition to Apple, Google and Microsoft are licensed for the nameplate product and services enumerated by the patents.
Apple says that since the use of the patents are tied through Apple resources and its APIs that it can decide who and how they are used, regardless of what Lodsys thinks in the matter.