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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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  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday May 13, 2011 @01:46PM (#36120918)
    Hey Microsoft, how's that Upgrade Anytime feature of Windows 7 looking right now? Like a big fat target? This case is to set a legal precident -- if you're smart, you'll help this guy now, before it becomes a multi-million dollar cock-up.
  • by advocate_one (662832) on Friday May 13, 2011 @02:03PM (#36121130)

    for deity's sake... it's about time all software patents were declared null and void and this entire stupidity stopped...

    Stop trying to invalidate patents on technicalities and go to the heart of the matter that they are not patentable in the first place.

  • by danaris (525051) <danaris @ m a c.com> on Friday May 13, 2011 @02:12PM (#36121224) Homepage

    Apparently, the particular patent involved in this case was originally filed in 1992, and then got a long series of "continuations".

    Now, I haven't gone and looked at it, but I rather doubt that the patent filed in 1992, before what we know as the Internet existed, bore much resemblance to what is being claimed today...but that's the patent system for you. Anything that was created after the original filing date cannot count as prior art, so they can claim they thought of it all, even if they added various claims a decade later based on stuff they saw people already doing, by more "continuations."

    Dan Aris

  • Re:Libertarians (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2011 @02:13PM (#36121238)

    Under statism men oppress men. Under Libertarianism it's the other way around.

    Libertarianism in its modern form has been floating around for a while now. When it serves the elites (Free Trade) it becomes law. When it serves the common man (ending the war on drugs that turns cities into combat zones and saddles young men with felony convictions) Libertarian ideals are swept under the rug.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday May 13, 2011 @02:39PM (#36121520)

    in this case it is about something much more lucrative, payment methods

    IANAPL, but the 74 claims of the patent seem to cover any sort of user feed-back, interaction and results display. I suspect that the /. "Reply to This" link, "Post a Comment" button and probably the entire /. site are in violation as well. Yes, the claims are that broad and numerous.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Friday May 13, 2011 @04:15PM (#36122330)

    Around 1990-1991, Adobe had a CD stuffed chock full of Type 1 Acrobat fonts. You could buy the entire CD unlocked, or get the CD for free, and call Adobe to unlock what fonts one wanted at the time.

    From reading the patent, this seems very close to prior art, as it uses the word "system", and at the time, calling an 800 number and putting in an unlock code could be considered just as much a system as an in-app purchase under iOS.

  • Re:Blegh. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drb226 (1938360) on Friday May 13, 2011 @06:44PM (#36123390)
    Funny + Insightful = Frightful?

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