Bullying isn’t something that only happens in grade school and a judge in Texas seems to be content looking the other way when it comes to Lodsys patents. The most recent news in a series of events over the past several years is that the motion filed by Apple which challenged Lodsys’ efforts to claim .575 percent of certain app revenues has been dismissed by Judge Rodney Gilstrap.
Arstechnica.com has published an interesting article on the implications of this situation and points out quite a few details about the East Texas court where Gilstrap presides. Perhaps the main lesson to be learned is that something is broken in a legal system when a company such as Lodsys can pursue a strategy which seemingly preys on small businesses.
Apple states that there are more than 6 million developers which could be affected by the Lodsys claims but Gilstrap is quoted as saying that, “A claim covering six million unnamed app developers is far outside the scope of the instant action.”
The strategy employed by Lodsys is to pressure developers into settling, even when Apple claims to have a licensing agreement covering the features. Gilstrap is permitting Lodsys to continue dealing with this issue on a case by case basis and refuses to even consider the motion filed by Apple. Lodsys has published a PDF on their site explaining their side of the issue and explaining why individual app developers are not covered under Apple’s protection.
Joe Mullin at Arstechnica.com certainly presented a strong opinion in opposition of Gilstrap but I think it would be very interesting to see the other side of the story. I firmly believe that if Lodsys is acting unethically then they should be stopped but perhaps Judge Gilstrap really shouldn’t stop all legal action under these specific circumstances. I don’t know but it is certainly worth exploring. No matter what, litigation is very expensive and small developers stand to lose the most when caught between the bickering of mega corporations. Let’s hope this doesn’t continue for years to come.