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Oracle sues Lodsys, hopes to invalidate all its patents

Oracle is the latest tech giant to take aim at Lodsys, a patent holder that's been extraordinarily litigious in the past year.

Oracle has filed a legal complaint against Lodsys -- the company that's taken aim at app makers on Apple's iOS, Google's Android, and other technology platforms for infringing on its patents -- with the hopes of invalidating them.

The enterprise software giant filed a suit against the Texas-based patent holder in a U.S. District Court in Wisconsin last week (via GigaOm), saying the firm has "repeatedly threatened numerous Oracle customers," and that the company isn't actually using any of the technology for anything besides getting revenue from other companies.

"Lodsys did not invent the technology claimed in the Patents-in-Suit," Oracle's suit claims. "Instead, Lodsys claims to have acquired the Patents-in-Suit from a non-practicing entity, Webvention, LLC, and now seeks to extract royalties by demanding that Oracle's customers, or Oracle, take a license under the Patents-in-Suit."

The 16-page document makes the case that Oracle, its customers, and end users are not infringing on any of Lodsys' four patents, and that those patents should be invalidated based on prior art.

According to the suit, Lodsys has sent letters to Oracle's customers "since early 2011," claiming they were infringing on one or more of the firm's four patents. Those customers include Epicor, Walgreen, and Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), which were all sued by Lodsys last month after not agreeing to pay for a license.

CNET has contacted Lodsys for comment, and will update this post if we hear back.

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. Informally, such companies are known as patent trolls.

Lodsys began its aggressive efforts last February with a patent infringement lawsuit targeting printing technology made by Samsung, Brother, Canon, Lenovo, and others. Two months later, the company began a campaign against mobile application developers, sending out letters to a number of developers saying that they were infringing on Lodsys-held patents, and offering up a licensing deal to those who did not want to duke it out in court.

Last June, Apple attempted, and was later granted, intervention in a separate Lodsys lawsuit against a handful of iOS developers. The difference there is that Apple already had a licensing agreement with Lodsys for patents that covered in-app purchase, with Lodsys arguing that said license did not cover developers on its platform. Similar arguments and infringements were sent to developers on Google's Android platform, with Google filing a request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to get the Lodsys patents invalidated.

Here's a full copy of the complaint (via GigaOm) from Friday:

Oracle v Lodsys