The case of patent troll Lodsys suing iOS developers has taken a turn for the better. After Lodsys took seven indie iOS developers to court last week, they are now about to taste their own medicine. According to FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller, all four Lodsys patents are under invalidation attack in federal court:
I have news concerning Lodsys because a Michigan company named ForeSee Results Inc. has filed a declaratory judgment suit against Lodsys’s four patents with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
This will help move legal proceedings from East Texas, which favors patent trolls like Lodsys, to Michigan. ForeSee is moving the case to another district because Lodsys’ CEO and sole employee “resides in, and conducts business from this Judicial District”. Lodsys has also issued letters to Adidas, Best Buy and WE Energies over an alleged copyright infringement related to a different patent. After issuing a mild statement, Apple appears to be keen on learning which developers are under lawsuit threats from Lodsys. A Sydney, Australia-based programmer James Wilson spotted an unusual notice when he logged in to iTunes Connect, Apple’s back-end for managing iTunes content submissions. The site asked him whether he was updating an app “because of a legal issue”, which may or may not relate to patent troll Lodsys.
Lodsys became notorious for demanding royalties from both iOS and Android developers over the use of the in-app purchasing mechanism. The company apparently has licensing agreements in place with Apple, Google and Microsoft for their mobile bazaars. It didn’t matter that third-party apps call standard system APIs: Lodsys argues that Apple’s and Google’s licenses don’t extend to the way apps implement this feature. ForeSee suing Lodsys in another district has “greatly reduced the likelihood of any infringement assertions against its customers being decided in the Eastern District of Texas”, FOSS Patents explains. “If Lodsys filed any such lawsuits there, ForeSee could request transfer to the Northern District of Illinois on a first-to-file basis and would be reasonably likely to succeed. Apple was so slow that Lodsys was able to deliver the first strike.”