Apple Says Lodsys Has No Case Against Developers; Will Defend Them Against Suits

from the patent-exhaustion? dept

With Lodsys providing an excellent case study in the patent system run amuck with its plan to sue a bunch of independent iOS developers for offering Apple's official in-app payment offering, one of the big questions was how Apple would respond. Lodsys insisted that Apple had a license, but that it only applied to Apple, not to any Apple developers. Apple has now publicly disagreed and claimed that it would defend developers against any such claims.

I was wondering if Apple would even contest the validity of the Lodsys patent or whether the in-app payment offerings were infringing, but the company didn't even bother. Instead, it notes that Apple has indeed licensed the patent, and any of the developers using the in-app payment solutions aren't doing their own thing, but are using the already licensed Apple technology, and under the famous Supreme Court ruling in the Quanta case, if a patent holder licenses a product to one player in the supply chain, it can't then go after others down the stream. While some are claiming that this will still involve a fight between Apple and Lodsys over the exact terms of Apple's license, I don't actually think that's the case. Apple's not arguing the nature of the license, but is claiming that since these developers are using Apple technology, the patent has been exhausted in this case. In fact, it seems like a pretty direct parallel to the Quanta case, which is going to make it difficult for Lodsys to get very far.

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  1. identicon
    Mike, 24 May 2011 @ 6:38am

    I don't think the letter goes as far as you suggest

    With all due respect, this letter does not go so far as to say it will "defend" the developers, but that might be the practical result.

    The ONLY thing this says is that "Apple... is fully prepared to defend APPLE'S license rights."

    Nowhere does it say that if Lodsys sues an app developer that Apple will 1. fund the defense or 2. indemnify the developer against damages.

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