Apple moves to support developers in patent fight

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Apple's stepped in to try and defend iOS developers that have been targeted by patent-holder Lodsys.

Late last week, it filed a motion in the Eastern District of Texas to step in as the defendant in the Lodsys lawsuit against seven developers. It's also filed a counterclaim asserting that both it and its developers are already licensed to use the technology.

Lodsys is claiming that, despite the fact that Apple's licensed the technology behind in-app purchases, the iOS developers haven't - and should.

But Apple insists that its own license covers the developers too. "The license expressly permits Apple to offer and otherwise make available to its developers' products and services that embody the inventions contained in the patents in suit," the Apple filing claims.

And now it's stepping in, claiming that Lodsys should not be targeting the developers: "Apple's rights will not be adequately protected by the current defendants in this case, because Lodsys has chosen to assert these claims against developers who are individuals or small entities with far fewer resources than Apple and who lack the technical information, ability, and incentive to adequately protect Apple's rights under its license agreement," it says.

The seven developers named so far are Texas-based Combay and QuickOffice; Iconfactory, of Greensboro, NC; Sweden's Illusion Labs; Michael Karr, operating as Shovelmate; New York-based Richard Shinderman and Wulven Game Studios of Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Lodsys has even more companies in its sights. On top of the iOS and Android developers, Samsung, HP, Brother and Motorola, it's filed suits against companies including Adidas, Best Buy and CVS. The suits cover four different patents.