Angry Birds maker targeted in Lodsys suit

Lodsys, a group that's targeted companies big and small for infringing on its patents, is now going after Electronic Arts, Angry Birds maker Rovio, Atari, Square Enix, and Take-Two Interactive in a lawsuit it filed earlier this year.

Rovio

Lodsys, a group that's targeted companies big and small for infringing on its patents, has added five new defendants to a suit it filed back in May, including Electronic Arts and Rovio, the maker of the popular Angry Birds franchise.

In an amended complaint (PDF), filed today with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and picked up by patent-tracking blog Foss Patents, Lodsys has added a number of gaming heavyweights including Atari, Electronic Arts, Rovio, Square Enix, and Take-Two Interactive to the list of companies it says are violating patents it holds. That brings the grand total up to 11 companies targeted in this suit alone.

Lodsys alleges that Atari, EA, Rovio, Square Enix, and Take-Two are infringing on its patents with games on Apple's iOS platform, which includes the iPhone and the iPad. Rovio is unique in the bunch in that Lodsys is targeting Angry Birds on both iOS and Google's Android. The developer makes a juicy target, given that the company's Angry Birds title has been downloaded more than 250 million times, with many of the downloads coming from those two mobile platforms.

Lodsys is what's known as a nonpracticing entity, or NPE, which means a company that licenses patents but doesn't actually have any other business. It began its aggressive efforts back in February with a patent-infringement lawsuit targeting printing technology made by Samsung, Brother, Canon, Lenovo, and others. In May, the company began a campaign targeting mobile-application developers, sending them letters saying they were infringing on Lodsys-held patents by including in-app purchase features within their software, and offering up a licensing deal to those who didn't want to duke it out in court.

Despite getting a firm and public rebuffing from Apple Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bruce Sewell in May, Lodsys forged ahead, filing a lawsuit against the initial seven app developers in this suit, as well as launching a similar letter campaign against Android developers. Foss Patents notes that today's amendment actually drops Wulven Games from the list of defendants. That company had been included as one of the original seven developers.

During the process, Lodsys has not just targeted smaller mobile-application makers and technology companies, it's also gone after retailers and other big businesses, including Sam's Club, Best Western, Black and Decker, The Container Store, The Teaching Company, Vitamin Shoppe, Vegas.com, Adidas, CVS, and Best Buy. These companies were all named in a patent-infringement lawsuit that was filed at the beginning of June . Today's addition of large gaming entities like EA and Take-Two represents a continuation of that trend.

Last month, Article One Partners, a business that crowdsources intellectual-property research, launched three new studies into patents held by Lodsys. Each offers a reward to the party that finds prior art, or examples of pre-existing technologies or other IP that could be used as evidence to invalidate one or more of Lodsys' patents.

 

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