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. Red Hat's Freedom Reduced to Just Online Partner Enablement Network (OPEN) and Microsoft as a Close Partner; Canonical's Ubuntu Just an 'App' for Windows?

    Free software is being snapped up by proprietary software giants and patent bullies that treat it as little more than an 'add-on' for their proprietary offerings



  2. Linux Foundation Apparently Celebrates Sysadmin Day With a Microsoft Windows Site!

    The Linux Foundation shows ‘love’ to actual GNU/Linux (the real thing) by apparently rejecting it and badmouthing it



  3. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 3: The Legal Line-up for G 2/19

    The deck appears to have already been stacked for G 2/19, a decision on EPO judges' exile to Haar (veiled disciplinary action/collective punishment by those whom the judges are supposed to 'oversee')



  4. Links 17/7/2019: VirtualBox 6.0.10 and Mageia 7.1 Releases, Mint Betas

    Links for the day



  5. Links 16/7/2019: Btrfs Gets 'Cleaned Up', Clonezilla Live 2.6.2-15

    Links for the day



  6. EPO Looney Tunes - Part 2: The “Difficult Legacy” and Its Dark Historical Shadow

    Assuming that he was informed, then it seems fair to say that Battistell’s little “joke” at the expense of the Boards was in very bad taste



  7. EPO Noise Machine Turned On as Haar Hearing Kicks Off, Patrick Corcoran Defamed Again

    The EPO does not want people to hear about Haar; it just wants people to hear about how wonderful the EPO is and there are some who have just decided to slander Patrick Corcoran again



  8. Microsoft is 'Doing Kamikaze' (神風) on Linux

    An analogy for what the Linux (only in name!) Foundation and Microsoft mean to Linux — or by extension to GNU/Linux and Free software whose largest repository Microsoft took control of



  9. The 'New' Linux.com Sometimes Feels Like a Microsoft Promotion Site

    Anything that the ‘Linux’ Foundation touches seems to turn into its proprietors’ agenda; one of those proprietors is Microsoft, which has a "Jihad" against Linux



  10. IBM is a Threat to the Internet, Not Just to Software Development (Due to Software Patents Aggression)

    IBM continues its aggression against technology — a fact that’s even more distressing now that IBM calls the shots at Red Hat



  11. EPO Looney Tunes - Part 1: Is D-Day Approaching for Battistelli’s “Difficult Legacy”?

    European patent justice isn’t working within the premises of EPOnia; a bunch of ‘show trials’ may in fact turn out to be just that — a show



  12. Links 16/7/2019: LXD 3.15, Q4OS 3.8 and D9VK 0.13f

    Links for the day



  13. Links 15/7/2019: Vulkan 1.1.115 and Facebook Openwashing

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Office 360 Banned

    OpenDocument Format (ODF, a real standard everyone can implement) and Free/libre software should be taught in schools; it's not supposed to be just a matter of privacy



  15. Microsoft, in Its Own Words...

    Sociopathy, incompetence and intolerance of the rule of law, as demonstrated by Microsoft's top managers



  16. Microsoft's WSL is Designed to Weaken GNU/Linux (on the Desktop/Laptop) and Strengthen Vista 10

    What Microsoft does to GNU/Linux on the desktop (and/or laptop) bears much resemblance to what Microsoft did to Java a couple of decades ago



  17. Links 14/7/2019: Linux 5.2.1, Unreal Engine 4.23 Preview, Linux Mint 19.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  18. 25,500 Blog Posts and Pages

    With our thirteenth anniversary just a few months away we're at a pace of about 2,000 posts per year



  19. With WSL Microsoft is Doing to GNU/Linux What It Did to Netscape

    Embrace, extend, extinguish. Some things never really change even if they become an old and repetitive accusation.



  20. Allowing Bad Guests to Become the Hosts

    Why the so-called 'Linux Foundation', a nonprofit that acts more like a PAC controlled by proprietary software companies and people who don't even use Linux, is increasingly becoming a Linux-hostile front group



  21. Honesty and Collaboration Make Free Software Stronger, Microsoft is Inherently a Misfit

    In spite of all the lies Microsoft and its Web sites spew out on a daily basis, nothing has really changed and Microsoft is still attacking Software Freedom (mostly from the inside nowadays, helped by FUD proxies such as WhiteSource and Snyk)



  22. Patent Certainty Waning, But That's Still OK for Patent Trolls

    Patent maximalism remains a threat to everyone but patent lawyers (and patent office chiefs who measure their own performance only by the number of patents granted); best served are the patent trolls who extrajudicially attack already-impoverished parties behind closed doors



  23. GitHub is Microsoft's Proprietary Software and Centralised (Monopoly) Platform, But When Canonical's Account There Gets Compromised Suddenly It's Ubuntu's Fault?

    Typical media distortions and signs that Microsoft already uses GitHub for censorship of Free/Open Source software that does not fit Microsoft's interests



  24. Canonical is Turning Ubuntu Into a More Proprietary Deviant of GNU/Linux

    Ubuntu is becoming more 'Ubinary'; binaries without their source code available are packed up and cooked up for (or baked into) the ISO; this may be good for widespread adoption, but it's not an advancement of freedom, a capitulation rather



  25. Links 13/7/2019: Librem 5 July Update, Project Trident 19.07, KDE Frameworks 5.60.0

    Links for the day



  26. The Problem Isn't Women or Minorities in Free Software But Particular Corporations That Exploit or Steer or Hijack Their Agenda

    If technical issues are being disguised using colours and genders (among other things), then it's important to highlight who's behind it (what company/ies) rather than fling back insults at people because it makes things worse



  27. There's No Such Thing as Cloud Computing, Serverless and All That Other Nonsense

    Buzzwords. Confronted.



  28. Linux is Doing 'Well' Only for Those Who Dislike Software Freedom and Love Control Over Users

    Linux, the kernel, has become a corporate playground or a sandbox that's used to upsell proprietary software, including surveillance; freedom in Linux is gradually being diminished if not completely obliterated and it does not worry the foundations entrusted to guard against it



  29. Consultation About Direction and Future Focus for Techrights

    We invite ideas and recommendations for the future of the site, notably which topics and aspects are worth covering as a matter of higher priority



  30. European Media Continues to Ignore the EPO Crisis While Law Firms and EPO Management Cover Things Up

    The EPO crisis silently deepens because serious problems are lied about, not acknowledged, and the legitimacy of European Patents is greatly diminished, not to mention the EPO's ability to attract talent


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