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 13/7/2014: KDE Activity Surge

    Links for the day



  2. Pro-Microsoft Spin in Microsoft-Funded News Networks

    The rogue media (misinformation) campaign of Microsoft benefits from networks which have been paid by Microsoft over the years



  3. Cronyism at Play: European Hostility Towards Free/Libre Software Despite Espionage and Moles

    Europe continues to be held hostage with back doors, lock-in, and massive payments to foreign powers, despite evidence that these powers are destructive and hostile



  4. Wirelessly-Controlled Contraceptives and Other Villainous Bill Gates Initiatives

    Remote controls for people's reproductive systems are now in the making and Bill Gates is a prominent investor in the technology



  5. Links 12/7/2014: CrossOver, New Wine

    Links for the day



  6. Links 10/7/2014: LXLE 14.04 in Headlines, Plasma 5

    Links for the day



  7. OpenDocument Format (ODF) Still Alive and Kicking

    Caligra, WebODF and various influential nations' departure from Microsoft Office will help famous projects such as OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice make ODF the only international standard for editable documents exchange



  8. The Effect of Corporate Media Bias: FOSS Demonisation and Microsoft Openwashing

    A set of very recent examples where the corporate press produces FOSS-hostile articles (or pro-Microsoft articles) by citing biased sources of convenience



  9. The NSA's Top (and First) PRISM Partner, Microsoft, Lies to Governments and Businesses as Office Gets Banned in China

    Developments in China reveal that security and privacy threats posed by reliance on Microsoft are so great that a ban becomes inevitable and continues to expand (Microsoft put on more and more block lists and blacklists)



  10. Microsoft's Propaganda Machine Tries to Shift Security Debate Amid Serious Catastrophes

    Observations and analysis of some recent deception in corporate news sites (like Condé Nasty), trying to pretend that Microsoft is secure, that Microsoft is pursuing security, and that FOSS and Android security or privacy are inherently poor



  11. Despite SCOTUS Ruling, Microsoft Still Extorts Companies and Product Buyers Using FAT Software Patents, Latest Victim is Canon

    Canon and Microsoft sign a patent deal which relates to patents on FAT file systems and impacts some of Canon's products, potentially Linux products as well (Canon makes drivers for Linux but does not develop products with Android or GNU/Linux just yet)



  12. Links 7/7/2014: CentOS 7 Released, Linux 3.16 RC4

    Links for the day



  13. Links 6/7/2014: Deepin 2014, Calligra 2.8.5

    Links for the day



  14. Bill Gates Pushed Out of States by Better Informed Teachers

    Bill Gates’ private (for-profit) coup against public education is being impeded by people whom it negatively affects



  15. Microsoft Struggling to Make Sales and More Future Products Axed

    The software bully which manipulates its financial reports is said to be unable to sell the latest Windows and a new Microsoft product running this version of Windows is axed before arrival



  16. Internet of Things Alliance Now Has a Mole, Microsoft

    The Internet of Things Alliance has just let the mole, Microsoft, dip its finger in the competition, as it so often does in order to derail the competition



  17. Links 6/7/2014: Korea's Domestic GNU/Linux Plans

    Links for the day



  18. Microsoft Sabotaging No-IP Rather Than Admitting Its Own Failures, Time for Class Action Seems Right as List of Affected Domains Collected

    Microsoft control over the Internet (control that should never have been granted) is used to shut down millions of legitimate services



  19. Bill Gates Deeply Corrupt Not Just in Education Sector

    Bursting the bubble or shattering the illusion that Gates is merely a misguided well-meaning person when it comes to education 'reform'



  20. Publicly-funded NHS Would Enjoy Symbiotic Relationship With Free -- as in Freedom -- Software

    Some of the latest attacks on FOSS and how these relate to the uprise of the affluent (seeking to privatise everything which is public and profit by domination over the state)



  21. Links 4/7/2014: E19 Alpha 2, KDevelop 4.7.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  22. US System Manipulated to Financially Punish Free Software

    The Yorba Foundation is denied tax exemptions while the world's biggest thief, who increases his wealth by lobbying and investing under the guise of 'charity', receives tax exemptions



  23. 'Hope' and 'Change' in Reverse: USPTO Gets Even More Extremist With New White House Appointment

    Philip Johnson, a "patent extremist", becomes the new head of the monopolies office, showing that nothing is going to improve any time soon



  24. Symptoms of Injustice: Biggest Software Patents Proponent, CAFC, Superseding Supreme Court Decisions on Patents

    A patent case in the United States gets sent from SCOTUS to CACF, showing a rather odd hierarchy of justice (top-to-bottom, back to notorious patent boosters)



  25. Links 2/7/2014: GNU/Linux up in Steam, New GCHQ Lawuit

    Links for the day



  26. Links 1/7/2014: CoreOS and Blackphone in Headlines

    Links for the day



  27. Links 30/6/2014: Linux 3.16 RC3, Many New Android Devices

    Links for the day



  28. The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

    A film that has just been released and is a free (CC-licensed) download on Internet Archive



  29. Arguments Persist Over Whether Software Patents Died in the US Whilst European Patent Law is Quietly Assimilated to US

    Continued discussion about the meaning of the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling and what it means to programmers all around the world, not just patent lawyers who seek to monopolise and tax software development



  30. Good Nokia (Jolla) and Bad Nokia (Microsoft); or Good Derivatives and Bad Derivatives of Android Hardware

    A reminder of what Nokia has really become (a part of Microsoft) and where people should go if they pursue what Nokia would have been without the mole (Elop)


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