In the summer of 2011, Lodsys took aim at several iOS developers (ranging from small development houses to larger organizations like Angry Birds maker Roxio). Their claim was that they had all violated an in-app purchasing patent held by the non-practicing entity. Not long after the suit was filed, Apple filed a motion to intervene stating that these app developers were licensed as an extension to the arrangement the tech giant already had in place.
Despite Lodsys’s opposition to Apple’s motion, the courts have (finally) granted them the ability to step in and help (at least as it pertains to the the issues of patent exhaustion and licensing).
The short-summary of the results of the order read:
“SEALED MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER – Apple has satisfied each of the four requirements for intervention as a matter of right under Rule 24(a)(2). The Court finds that permissive intervention is also appropriate under Rule 24(b). To avoid any potential prejudice to Lodsys rights under the License Agreement such intervention shall be and is hereby limited to the issues of license and patent exhaustion. Apples Motion to Intervene is GRANTED-IN-PART to the extent and as specified herein. Motions terminated:  MOTION to Intervene filed by Apple, Inc.. Signed by Judge Rodney Gilstrap on 4/12/12. (ehs, ) Modified on 4/12/2012 (ch, ).”
While some of the developers named in the suit have since settled on undisclosed terms, for those that remain it would seem likely that Apple’s presence will be very welcome. With any luck it will be the first in a long line of failures for would-be patent trolls. The presence of considerable (and seemingly money-hungry) patent infringement lawsuits as of late is tying up considerable time in the courts and may end up resulting in increasingly necessary reform to existing laws.
If nothing else, Apple certainly has the power and resources to stop iOS developers from being intimidated or bullied.