Mere weeks before the WWDC, Apple is still quiet on the Lodsys situation, leaving developers unsure of what to do in the patent trolling case. The silence is truly deafening. EFF sums up many of our thoughts on this:
In case you missed it, Lodsys – a troll whose sole business model is owning and suing on patents – has sent letters to many of Apple’s app developers accusing them of infringing a patent that covers the in-app purchasing functionality that Apple provides as part of its operating system. In addition to these accusations, Lodsys’ letters demanded payment. Unfortunately, suing app developers – who often lack the resources required to defend a lawsuit – is a trend we’re seeing more and more often. What’s different here, however, is that Apple provides this functionality to its developers and requires that they use it. Apple itself is protected from liability – Apple took a license from Lodsys’ predecessor to use this very patent (which was likely part of a larger blanket license). And the apparently one-sided Apple-developer agreement does not require that Apple indemnify developers from suits based on technology that Apple provides.
Apple clearly needs to take a stand on this one way or another. Even just a public statement saying, “we are working on this and will have an answer before the 30 days to respond to Lodsys time is up” would suffice.
By putting the burden on those least able to shoulder it, both Apple and Lodys are harming not just developers but also the consumers who will see fewer apps and less innovation. We hope that going forward companies like Apple will do what’s right and stand up for their developers and help teach the patent trolls a lesson.
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- Posted using my iPhone 4