EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.23.11

Lodsys Shows That Apple Does Not Care About Developers

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 8:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Co-authored with G. Forbes

Summary: Apple is under fire for apathy in the face of patent trolls it fed; discussion on how the Lodsys case and cases of its kind affect Linux

THE VERY real problems with software patents are being clearly illustrated in the headlines recently. This is a result of the news that there are hypePhone application developers being sued without Apple defending them.

This is a good opportunity to remind all developers that Apple is not their friend, regardless of whatever marketing hype they generate to the contrary.

There has been and continues to be an enormous amount of coverage of this story. [1, 2, 3, 4]. This is perhaps due to the fact that Apple’s involvement is explicitly mentioned. Muktware, as always, does a good job with its coverage, putting the case into a clear context.

The patent troll, in response, has been trying to explain its actions. The EFF, which is involved in an ongoing patent-busting project, has suggested that Apple should get involved in the case (article here) rather than help make patent trolls stronger by sitting in the sidelines. Many developers are having similar feelings, and have decided to call for boycotts:

Mike Lee, a Mac developer and former iOS developer with major contributions to Tap Tap Revenge, Obama ’08 and Apple’s own retail application, has suggested a radical way to fight back against the patent firms targeting mobile application developers with claims of infringement. It’s time for an API boycott, he says.

Lee calls the current patent trolling, where firms such as Lodsys and others are threatening to sue developers who don’t license patents for technology developments like in-app purchasing buttons and the use of forms, an “untenable situation” for developers. “There is no move we can make that will result in our ultimate survival. Either we pay Lodsys and usher in a new era of extortion, or we refuse to pay and are sued out of business.”

Here is a corresponding letter to Steve Jobs. We have covered the Lodsys case before [1, 2, 3]. While this may seem to be a case of one bad party , Apple has in fact funded some of these same patent troublemakers. As a result, Apple has helped to enable the trouble that has arisen, and it deserves a lot of flack here. Developers are complaining to Apple, even through the bug reporting system, e.g. “Filed bug report #9460324 on in-app purchase. Apple needs to do something about these patent-waving clowns.”

This case does have relevance to Linux as well. An Android app died in similar circumstances due to software patents and Shazam engaged in equally bad behaviour although it had no case. With similar and very public attacks now being made against iOS app developers, it should be clear by now that software patent abuse is a global issue. It is one that needs to be addressed urgently.

The founder and owner of the patent troll Igoe Intellectual Property, LLC. has now written about this case several times [1, 2, 3], as have other patenting apologists.

As correctly pointed out at Macworld, it is not only developers who should care about this situation. Almost everyone except patent lawyers will be harmed as a result of this non-productive behaviour. Wealth and power is being passed into the hands of a few, non-producing parasites. Their actions are antithetical to the original purpose of patents and the whole concept of a competitive and healthy economy.

Some lawyers appear to be defecting from their usual party lines as “Software patents become ever more ludicrous,” notes The Guardian. Apple might have to change its mind about patents as well if it continues to go under patent fire more often than at present. As we noted earlier, Apple is currently buying more patents while applying for many more. Meanwhile, GNU/Linux developers are actually writing and contributing code; they are engaged in true innovation.

On this subject, it is too hard to forget Apple’s relationship with Intellectual Ventures or IV for short (it received backing from Apple), which is essentially a player in the anti-Linux/FOSS cartel. The patents involved in cases like this sometimes come from IV. One must also remember that Apple is on Microsoft’s side when it comes to patent hoarding. As a result, Apple will probably just continue to duck when faced with lawsuits like this one:

Another patent-owning company has targeted app developers on both Apple and Android platforms, intensifying concerns among developers that smartphones are the new hunting ground for so-called “patent trolls”.

Yes, Android is affected too. This is not the first time that IV et al. has surfaced in Linux/Android extortion.

On yet another Apple-software-patent issue, Ellison and Jobs have a special relationship as we have mentioned before. There is reason to suspect that it played a role in the Java lawsuit that Groklaw under Webbink continues keep abreast of. To quote the latest postings:

In the two most recent filings in Oracle v. Google we get a glimpse into the contentious nature of this proceeding, with neither side willing to budge a great deal. This shouldn’t be overly surprising considering that we have two of the heavyweights of the information technology industry slugging at each other.

Webbink has also been writing about other Microsoft patent trolls, such as Traul Allen:

Since Groklaw last visited Paul Allen’s patent attack on Google and the World, the court has agreed to sever the omnibus complaint into eleven separate ones 229 [PDF]. There is really no great surprise here. The nature of the asserted infringements in the first amended complaint were so unrelated to each other that the court had little choice but to sever.

Allen and IV are not the only Microsoft-tied entities that attack Android. Microsoft does this directly against B&N and Motorola, while Apple extorts HTC and Samsung using injunctions.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. East Asia's Patent Peril and the Curse of Patent Trolls

    The high cost of China's new obsession with patents and the never-ending saga of Samsung (Korea), which gets dragged into courts not only in the US but also in China



  2. USPTO Starts Discriminating Against Poor People, and Does So Even When They Rightly Point Out Errors

    Even though the burden of proof ought to be on one who grants a monopoly, the legal costs are being offloaded onto those who challenge an erroneously-granted monopoly (even if the court sides with the challenger)



  3. Ambrose Chan Enters Document Security Systems (DSS), a Partly Patent Troll Entity

    The Board of Directors of DSS enlists a man from Singapore, whose lack of technical background suggests that the company is still more of a bully than an innovator



  4. UPC Threatens to Weaponise Software Patents in Countries That Forbade These

    The reality of software patents in Europe and what a Unified Patent Court (UPC) would mean for these if it ever became a reality



  5. The Latest Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and CIPO's Participation in Those

    Team UPC continues to overplay its chances, conveniently ignoring simple facts as well as the Rule of Law



  6. The Patents Policy of Facebook is Causing an Exodus

    Yet another major player walks away from Facebook's code because of software patents



  7. Links 20/9/2017: Wine Staging 2.17, Randa 2017, Redox OS 0.3.3

    Links for the day



  8. When Google Used Alex Converse to Raid the Public Domain With Software Patents

    In its overzealous pursuit of software patents, Google is now turning public domain methods into private 'property' (in defiance of critics)



  9. Mark Kokes, the Man Behind BlackBerry's Patent Aggression, Leaves the Company

    The man behind the patent troll-like behaviour of BlackBerry is leaving



  10. WordPress Demonstrates That Facebook's Patent Strategy is Deterring/Alienating Developers

    React is being dumped following Facebook's attempt to restrict distribution/derivatives using software patents



  11. Links 19/9/2017: Pipewire, Mir Support for Wayland, DRM in W3C

    Links for the day



  12. Links 18/9/2017: Linux 4.14 RC1, Mesa 17.2.1, and GNOME 3.26 on Ubuntu Artful

    Links for the day



  13. Patent Trolls Update: Eolas, Conversant (MOSAID), Leigh Rothschild, and Electronic Communication Technologies

    Patent trolls are still being watched -- as they ought to be -- even though some of them shy away, hide from the media, engage in dirty tricks, and file more lawsuits



  14. Microsoft is Promoting Software Patents in India in Another Effort to Undermine Free/Open Source Software, Microsoft-Connected Trolls Are Still Suing

    The ongoing patent threat to Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) and the role played by Microsoft in at least much of this threat



  15. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Under Attack by IBM and Other Patent Parasites Who Undermine Patent Quality

    The PTAB, which has thus far invalidated thousands of abstract/software patents, is under a coordinated attack not by those who produce things but those who produce a lot of lawsuit



  16. Why the Mohawk Tribe Should Fire Its Lawyers and Dump the Patents Which Now Tarnish Its Name

    In order to dodge the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) with its Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs), the Mohawk tribe is being exploited -- very much in direct detriment to its reputation and status



  17. Amazon and Google Have Both Become Part of the Software Patents Problem

    The transition from so-called 'defensive' patents to offensive patents (ones that are used to suppress competition) as seen in Amazon and in Google, which is already suing rivals and is pursuing additional patents by acquisition



  18. Unless Physical, Inventions Are No Longer Patent-Eligible in US Courts, But USPTO Ignores Precedence

    Even though the ability to enforce software patents against a rival (or many targets, especially in the case of patent trolls) is vastly diminished, the US patent office continues to grant these



  19. Citing the European Patent Convention, Spanish Court Tosses Lawsuit With EPO-Granted European Patent

    The quality of European Patents (EPs) -- a subject of growing levels of scrutiny -- as demonstrated in Barcelona this summer



  20. Links 16/9/2017: More of “Public Money, Public Code”, Equifax Failed to Patch for Months

    Links for the day



  21. BlackBerry Has Turned Into a Patents and Licensing Company

    The Canadian company that made fairly reputable phones early in this century is left with nothing but the power to sue other companies -- a power to which it increasingly gravitates



  22. European Patent Office Continues to Paint a Rosy UPC Picture Even Though the UPC May Already be Dead

    The European Patent Office (EPO) doesn't let facts get in the way as another week passes with UPC promotion and further staff repressions



  23. Tax Evasion by Patent Boxes and Lies About Small Businesses (SMEs) in the Corporate Media

    The lobbying effort of the patent 'industry' -- and its largest beneficiaries -- paints its own perks as something that's intended for their small/minuscule competitors (whom they actually attempt to misrepresent and crush)



  24. Links 15/9/2017: Mesa 17.2.1 RC, Wine 2.17, WordPress to Ditch React Over Patents

    Links for the day



  25. The UPC Fantasy is Going Nowhere as Complaints and Paperwork Pile Up

    Many submissions and complaints about the Unitary Patent have time to arrive before the end of October as a decision on the matter seems as distant as 2018



  26. At Event of EPO SLAPP Firm, a Suggestion That the UPC Should be Scrapped Because It's Stuck

    Just like the TPP, the UPC is now in a potentially fatal deadlock, so people with a stake in the outcome consider starting again (almost from scratch)



  27. Watchtroll Helps the EPO Peddle Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) isn't happening; the EPO, however, keeps on pretending that it can already operate as though the UPC got the green light



  28. Links 14/9/2017: Plasma 5.11 Beta, Q4OS 1.8.8, Orion

    Links for the day



  29. Links 13/9/2017: Blender 2.79, Qt 5.10 Alpha, GNOME 3.26 “Manchester”, Parrot 3.8

    Links for the day



  30. Amazon's Infamous Patent is Dead and the World's Richest Man Failed to Fulfill His Promise on Software Patents

    Amazon continues piling up a lot of software patents even though its founder once pretended (only after enormous public backlash) that he would pursue far shorter terms for software patents


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts