We’ve been eagerly following all the news about Lodsys, the patent holding company that has begun suing iOS and Android developers over infringements of its in-app purchasing patent. There haven’t been anymore lawsuits filed, except the one against Lodsys itself.
That’s right, a Michigan-based company, ForeSee Results, filed a request for a declaratory judgement against all four of Lodsys’s patents in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.ForeSee Results, an online customer satisfaction survey company, represents another group of companies that aren’t app developers at all: Adidas, Best Buy, and WE Energies. Lodsys has threatened all of these companies with lawsuits over various patent infringements, and this preemptive filing will decide whether or not the four patents that Lodsys holds are actually valid at all.
ForeSee denies the alleged infringements of its customers, and is seeking to find Lodsys’s patents invalid, plus a permanent restraining order that forces Lodsys to quit disrupting its business and harassing customers.
While ForeSee is not representing or filing for the app developers that are under attack by Lodsys, the outcome of the ruling in Northern Illinois could potentially benefit them if all of the patents are ruled invalid. A preemptive filing in Illinois could protect ForeSee from a Lodsys lawsuit in the patent holder loving Eastern District of Texas. However, the court in Illinois must move quickly to help protect app developers, as the court in East Texas is notoriously fast.
Lodsys has not yet commented on its infamous blog, but given their past need to defend themselves, it’s unlikely they will remain quiet.
Apple has failed to make another public response besides the letter sent over two weeks ago, but may still be carefully deliberating on a course of action. There are almost certainly things going on behind the scenes, given a new questionnaire distributed to developers updating apps.
James Wilson, of LithiumCorp, the makers of iPad app Tweed, was submitting an update to Apple yesterday when he found a new question in the in the forms: “Are you updating this app because of a legal issue?”
It seems that Apple may be gathering information on which app developers have been threatened, but to what purpose is unknown. Although we haven’t heard a public response yet, surely Apple has had time over the course of the World Wide Developers Conference to speak with various app developers and plan an attack. It’s likely we will hear from Apple, but not until the end of WWDC. Until then, let’s hope the court in Illinois is speedy enough to get results that can help app developers in their own pending lawsuits.