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. Links 20/5/2019: Linux 5.2 RC1, LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha, DXVK 1.2.1, Bison 3.4 Released

    Links for the day



  2. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  3. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  4. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  5. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  6. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  7. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  8. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  9. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  10. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  11. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  12. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  13. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  14. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    Links for the day



  15. False Hope for Patent Maximalists and Litigation Zealots

    Patent litigation predators in the United States, along with Team UPC in Europe, are trying to manufacture optimistic predictions; a quick and rather shallow critical analysis reveals their lies and distortions



  16. The Race to the Bottom of Patent Quality at the EPO

    The EPO has become more like a rubber-stamper than a patent office — a fact that worries senior staff who witnessed this gradual and troublesome transition (from quality to raw quantity)



  17. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 2: Meet the Kötters

    An introduction to the Kötter Group, the private security conglomerate which is lined up for the award of a juicy EUR 30 million contract for the provision of security services at the EPO



  18. Links 14/5/2019: Red Hat Satellite 6.5, NVIDIA 430.14 Linux Driver and New Security Bug (MDS)

    Links for the day



  19. Links 14/5/2019: GNU/Linux in Kerala, DXVK 1.2, KDE Frameworks 5.58.0 Released

    Links for the day



  20. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 1: Urgent Shitstorm Alert

    Experts at the European Patent Office's (EPO) weather observation station have just issued an urgent alert warning about a major shitstorm looming on the horizon



  21. Patents That Were Gleefully Granted by the EPO Continue to Perish in Courts

    The decreasing quality of granted European Patents already becomes a growing problem if not a crisis of uncertainty



  22. Links 13/5/2019: ExTiX 19.5 and GNU Radio Conference 2019

    Links for the day



  23. The Microsoft Guide to the Open Source Galaxy

    Thou shalt not...



  24. Microsoft Would Kill the Goose for Money

    Microsoft is just 'monetising' Open Source by using it as 'bait' for Microsoft's proprietary software; those who we might expect to antagonise this have effectively been bribed by Microsoft



  25. Links 13/5/2019: Nanonote 1.2.0, OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 RC, and GNUnet 0.11.4

    Links for the day



  26. Professionally Incompetent EPO Management

    The EPO remains an awful employer, with top-level management largely responsible for the loss of talent and even money



  27. Links 12/5/2019: Linux 5.1.1, GDB 8.3, KStars 3.2.2 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Did Battistelli 'Steal' ~$100,000,000 Euros From the EPO?

    While enjoying diplomatic immunity the thug from CEIPI (who is back at the EPO as a jurist) passed millions if not billions (over the long run) in liabilities; this was done with total and inexcusable impunity, no effective oversight



  29. The Biased EPO Does Not Want to Hear From Anyone Except Those Who Pay the EPO

    The EPO's corruption and violations of the law are a threat to everyone in the world; the EPO only ever listens to those who pay for "access" or those who embrace the "religion" of the EPO



  30. Team UPC Has Run Out of Arguments, So Now It's Just Writing Anti-Brexit Rants With Testicles in the Headlines

    Nothing has worked for firms that crafted and lobbied hard for the Unified Patent Court (UPC); after necrophilia a new low is being reached


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

Recent Posts