by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 14th 2011 6:26pm
Lodsys, the Texas-based shell company (with some connection to Intellectual Ventures) that has threatened tons of developers for daring to offer in-app payments for mobile apps using either Apple's or Google's app store payment system, is apparently getting some developers to pay up. Paid Content has the unfortunate story of Michael Karr, a college sophomore and app developer, who says he simply can't afford to move forward and can't wait to see if Apple steps in and protects developers. So he's agreed to pay up. Of course, because this is the way most patent trolls work, he can't say what kind of agreement he came to with the company. This is pretty ridiculous, and if the situation doesn't make you angry, you're not paying enough attention to what's going on here. Basically a company that does absolutely nothing is shaking down tons of companies and individuals for using Apple's and Google's own payment mechanisms. First, there shouldn't be anything patentable here. Second, through deals with IV, both Apple and Google have technically "licensed" the tech already, so under basic patent exhaustion concepts, the developers should be immune from such suits. But Lodsys and the trolls like it abuse the system, knowing that the cost of fighting them greatly exceeds how much they'll settle for. It's a pure loss. Money that was going to innovation now goes into the dirty pockets of some innovation-killing patent lawyers. Sickening.
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