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Apple tries to intervene in Lodsys lawsuit

In a surprise move, Apple's attempting to back up app developers sued by Lodsys by stepping in as the defendant in a lawsuit alleging patent infringement.


Apple is seeking to put its legal weight behind developers targeted by Lodsys, a company that's taken aim at app makers on both Apple's iOS and Google's Android for infringing on patents it owns.

The iPhone maker yesterday filed a motion with the Eastern District of Texas to intervene as the defendant in a lawsuit from Lodsys that targets seven developers. Apple also used the filing to provide a counterclaim that both it and its developers have the license rights to use the technology. That filing was dug up by FOSS Patents.

"Apple has an interest in property that is at the center of this dispute, namely, its license to the patents in suit and its business with the developers, which depends on their use of products and services that Apple is expressly licensed under the patents in suit to offer them," the filing reads. "Both Lodsys's complaint and its threats to other Apple developers adversely affect the value of Apple's license and its business with the developers."

Apple later notes that it wants to step in since Lodsys has gone after smaller targets that could make an impact on its own legal standing:

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.

Lodsys triggered a controversy last month when it began going after developers--instead of Apple--for a licensing fee on apps that made use of the in-app purchase (IAP) feature, threatening legal action against those who did not comply. After a period of silence, Apple responded, telling Lodsys that its licensing of those patents covered its developers too.

Lodsys later rebuked Apple's argument and has continued to go after developers. That includes the lawsuit against the seven developer operations that Apple now wants to step in to aid.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The big question now is what Google decides to do to protect its developers. Lodsys began targeting Android developers with in-app billing features near the end of May, giving them a similar timetable of 21 days to respond before facing litigation.

Below is a full copy of the filing, courtesy of FOSS Patents.

0. Apple Motion to Intervene Against Lodsys