Lodsys disregards Apple, files suit against 7 iOS developers
Lodsys has decided to ignore Apple's strongly worded demand they cease harassing iOS developers, and instead decided to file suit against 7 of them, including Combay Inc. (Mega Poker Online Texas Holdem), Iconfactory (Twitterrific), Illusion Labs (Labyrinth), Shovelmate (69 Positions), Quickoffice, Richard Shinderman (Hearts), Wulven Games (Shadow Era). Says Lodsys:
Apple and Lodsys were in confidential discussions and there was clearly disagreement on the interpretation of the license terms of Apple’s agreement. Before, during and after these interactions, Lodsys has carefully considered this issue and consulted several legal experts to consider Apple’s claims. We stand firm and restate our previous position that it is the 3rd party Developers that are responsible for the infringement of Lodsys’ patents and they are responsible for securing the rights for their applications. Developers relying on Apple’s letter do so to their own detriment and are strongly urged to review Apple’s own developer agreements to determine the true extent of Apple’s responsibilities to them.
In a private communication, simultaneous to this posting, Lodsys has sent a detailed legal position on the license interpretation issue, in writing to Apple that has been previously only verbally communicated. Apple has our permission to publish that letter, in its entirety, should developers wish to review our dispute and evaluate the risks with their own counsel. While we have nothing to hide, we cannot unilaterally publish the letter because it refers to information that was obtained with an obligation of confidentiality to Apple and we do not have their permission to do so.
They've also promised $1000 to each developer if they're in the wrong. Says Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents:
Obviously, $1,000 is not much to gain considering that even an initial analysis of a patent assertion letter by a qualified attorney will typically cost much more than $1,000. And a lawsuit can cost millions. However, the fact that Lodsys publishes such a promise shows that it really doesn't believe in Apple's representations (concerning the scope of the license) at all.
The ball is now back in Apple's (and Google's, as one developer is being sued for the Android version of his app as well). Will they indemnify developers, offer to take on the litigation on their behalf, counter sue Lodsys to invalidate the patent, or all or none of the above?