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Small Devs Attacked Over In-App Purchase Button Patent 229

Posted by Soulskill
from the under-the-bridge dept.
Thornburg writes with this excerpt from a story at MacRumors: "Yesterday, we received word from Rob Gloess of Computer LogicX ... that he had received legal documents threatening a patent lawsuit over the use of an 'upgrade' button in the lite version of his application linking users to the App Store where they could purchase the full version. 'Our app, Mix & Mash, has the common model of a limited free, lite, version and a full version that contains all the features. We were told that the button that users click on to upgrade the app, or rather link to the full version on the app store was in breach of US patent no 7222078. We couldn't believe it, the upgrade button!?!' The patent in question was filed in December 2003 as part of series of continuations on earlier patent applications dating back to 1992. The patent is credited to Dan Abelow, who sold his extensive portfolio of patents to holding firm Lodsys in 2004. Lodsys is indeed the company issuing the threats of a lawsuit regarding the patent in question."
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Small Devs Attacked Over In-App Purchase Button Patent

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  • Oh, great... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mangu (126918) on Friday May 13, 2011 @02:50PM (#36120958)

    Take a look at their patent portfolio:

    - provide online help, customer support, and tutorials

    - conduct online subscription renewals

    - provide for online purchasing of consumable supplies
    survey users for their impressions of their products and services

    - assist customers to customize their products and services
    display interactive online advertisements

    - collect information on how users actually use their products and services

    - sell upgrades or complimentary products

    - maintain products by providing users notice of available updates and assisting in the installation of those updates.

    Why do they call things "inventions"? What about prior art? What about obviousness? Methinks there should be a law against ridiculous and/or frivolous patents.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2011 @02:50PM (#36120962)

    The problem is that the patent could be absolutely baseless, but it takes money to go to court over patent cases, especially when the plaintiff has the home field advantage in choosing the court to try the case in, what judge hears it (if you don't think a good patent lawyer knows which judges rotate to what cases, think again), and when it appears on the docket (it can always be stalled), most small developers will just settle.

    These are just tactics that do work almost always taken from the RIAA playbook. I'm amazed that lawyers have not been doing this sooner.

  • by Albanach (527650) on Friday May 13, 2011 @02:54PM (#36121004) Homepage

    at least not until larger companies become involved.

    According to this page [priorsmart.com] the company is suing HP, Lexmark, Samsung, Hulu, Trend Micro, Canon, Lenovo and others over the same patent (amongst others).

    I'd say big companies might just be involved already.

  • by TheEyes (1686556) on Friday May 13, 2011 @03:28PM (#36121418)

    Honestly?

    Another reason to love capitalism; you think of gravity, the universe is your's!

    Patents aren't capitalism. In fact they're almost the exact opposite of capitalism: they are government-granted monopolies on production. They were originally granted to protect individual innovators from exploitation by wealthy corporations, but almost since the laws were first passed they were used for the exact opposite purpose. They need to die, or at least be seriously reformed, but in the current pro-corporate, anti-consumer climate of, well both parties but I'm thinking of one in particular we'll never see real patent reform, just like how real health care reform and real banking reform were "compromised" to death, and even their hollowed-out husks are drawing fire from the radical right.

  • Re:Blegh. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday May 13, 2011 @03:59PM (#36121680) Journal

    That's because there's no mod for "Gallows Humor".

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