Back in 2011, patent holding company Lodsys began suing iOS developers that used in-app purchases, claiming patent infringement. Though Apple stepped in to defend devs, Lodsys pursued settlement fees, receiving payouts from more than 150 companies.
After an October update stating that the U.S. Patent and Trademark office had upheld its claim to the in-app purchase patent, Lodsys went relatively quiet, until yesterday, when it filed a lawsuit against Disney and several other high profile developers.
Lodsys is targeting Disney for puzzle game Where’s My Water, along with other Disney apps. Where’s My Water includes multiple in-app purchases for game add ons and additional levels. In the suit, Lodsys claims that it attempted to enter into a licensing agreement with Disney, but was turned down. The company is now requesting a jury trial against Disney.
Prior to filing this complaint, Lodsys informed Disney of the patents-in-suit and offered to enter into a licensing arrangement that would allow Disney to continue practicing the inventions claimed in patents-in-suit. Disney, however, chose not to enter into a licensing agreement. Instead, with knowledge of the patents-in-suit and disregard for Lodsys’ patent rights, Disney chose to continue its infringement.
In addition to targeting Disney, Lodsys is also suing major developers like Gameloft and BackFlip Studios. The company filed a total of 10 lawsuits yesterday, and is also currently embroiled in lawsuits with retailers like Nordstrom, Burberry, and Godiva, for other patent infringement claims.
Lodsys started its iOS patent lawsuits by filing against independent app developers, but this latest round of patent infringement cases is particularly ambitious. Disney, along with several of Lodsys’s other targets, have relatively deep pockets and may make for more challenging targets. Has Lodsys finally bitten off more than it can chew?