Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
IOS Patents Your Rights Online

Lodsys Responds To In-App Purchasing Patent Controversy 158

Posted by Soulskill
from the defending-their-honor dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week, a heretofore unknown company named Lodsys sent FedEx packages to a number of independent iOS developers informing them that their use of in-app purchasing infringed on valid patents they owned. Now Lodsys has publicly responded to a number of issues/questions levied at them over the past few days."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Lodsys Responds To In-App Purchasing Patent Controversy

Comments Filter:
  • by Jailbrekr (73837) <jailbrekr@digitaladdiction.net> on Monday May 16, 2011 @02:24PM (#36142454) Homepage

    "So why do you think you should profit from something so painfully obvious? This is a natural extension of shareware so why is this unique?"

    • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Monday May 16, 2011 @02:31PM (#36142514)
      Because they already paid the inventor for the patents. They purchased the cake, realized later that it's actually a shit sandwich, and now they need to make some money.
      • It's time to have the USPTO invalidate this shit sandwich so everyone can get on with innovating.

        • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday May 16, 2011 @02:48PM (#36142712) Homepage

          first you have to get rid of all the corrupt pawns that were put in place at the USPTO that rubber stamp everything in sight. Once you get competent and honest people in there 90% of all software patents will be invalidated.

          • Oh, I get it now! Maybe it's this lady!

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P46qYCIt954 [youtube.com]

            • i am impressed by her speed -- but what exactly is the REAL-WORLD application for such fast stamping?

              Either you automate the process, or someone needs to READ the piece of paper.

              >> Maybe USPTO could be replaced by a machine -- but there is no need to hire a PERSON merely to stamp a piece of paper.

          • by dudpixel (1429789)

            I see what you're saying, but cant help thinking that in this world, the USPTO would start to lose money and these competent and honest people would be quickly sacked to "save face".

            Everything seems to revolve around money these days. And greed goes hand in hand with patents like this.

          • Are you sure they didn't just buy a rubber stamping machine? That sounds awfully labor-intensive to rubber stamp everything in sight.

            Wait, let me guess - someone patented a method for rubber stamping patents, and is suing the maker of the rubber stamping machine into oblivion...

        • by Zerth (26112)

          Indeed, it is important to note that the "inventor" of this patent will receive zilch and the current rightsholder isn't producing anything of value with it, just makework for legal assistants.

          Is this how patents are supposed to work?

          • by Noughmad (1044096)

            The inventor already made money, when Lodsys bought the patent from him/her/them. And yes, this is how patents are supposed to work, or do you think that inventors shouldn't be allowed to sell patents?

            • by calzones (890942) on Monday May 16, 2011 @03:25PM (#36143112)

              or do you think that inventors shouldn't be allowed to sell patents?

              BINGO.

              If you set out to patent an invention, you should only be able to profit from patent protection if you actually execute on the patented invention, or if you are waiting to figure out how to execute (waiting on investors, waiting on cheaper technology, etc) and someone else comes along and commercially releases an invention that trespasses on it.

              Selling a patent should be worthless unless you are selling it as part of a business that is actively involved in commercially executing / production on that very patent. In which case the entire patent + production bundle exchange hands.

              The way it should be: If you are unable to execute on a patented invention then you are SOL unless someone else decides to trespass on it. If you invent something and patent, your only hopes of getting paid are either executing or suing someone who violates your patent before you are able to execute.

              In short, inventing something with no known means of executing on it, including the inability to raise investment capital to execute on it should be a worthless enterprise and unworthy of your time and money to patent. Let someone else patent it who can execute on it or who at least thinks they can and is willing to go unpaid on their patent.

              • by Noughmad (1044096)

                But what if you don't have the means of production?

                Let's say some poor electrical engineer produces a small solar cell with much better efficiency than currently available. But he doesn't have enough money to build a factory and hire people to operate the company. Should he be ashamed of himself for being poor, not allowed to licence his invention?

                Do you really suggest that only the wealthy should be allowed to patent things?

                • by calzones (890942)

                  If the patent is worthwhile, the engineer will have no trouble securing funding for a new company dedicated to producing the solar cell.

                  Alternatively, the engineer can sit on his hands and just publicize his new invention and set up licensing fees to others that wish to fabricate the invention.

                  However, the engineer should never be allowed to just shrug and sell off the patent. Buying a patent should be effectively worthless unless you are buying it as part of a package deal that includes production.

                  Being i

                  • by calzones (890942)

                    To clarify my poorly worded previous post: when I said "not allowed" I didn't mean it should be against the law, I meant it should just be that any patent should be worthless to another entity if it doesn't include the fabrication/production half. Being worthless, no one would ever offer an inventor money for just a patent.

                    If someone wanted to buy Apple, for example, then only patents that Apple had already successfully commercialized would be worth anything. The rest of the patents Apple has filed over t

                    • by Noughmad (1044096)

                      I don't know, I still don't think this would help anything. It would create a black market of patents ready for registration. And what about people with a large number of patents (~10 or more), would they have to produce all of the possible products themselves?

                      What you're proposing would help against patent trolls, but I'm afraid it would hurt actual inventors as well. Obvious patents are a bigger issue here that being enforced by non-inventors, which is also easier to solve.

                    • by calzones (890942)

                      Under my proposal:

                      If you're a serial inventor, you can choose to license all of your patents to other entities, or you execute on one or more of them (or both). At some point after the first successful patent, you would likely have enough money to run a full-blown corporation. From that point on, you could just file all your subsequent patents under your corporation (but the ones you originally came up with would still be in your name). A special exceptional patent process could exist for inventors wishi

                  • If the patent is worthwhile, the engineer will have no trouble securing funding for a new company dedicated to producing the solar cell.

                    As someone who has been involved with fund raising for startup businesses I feel comfortable saying that is nonsense. Just because you have a good idea does not even remotely ensure that securing funding will be easy or ensure a return on investment. Even if you can raise the money that doesn't ensure you'll get the money on favorable terms.

                  • Being in the business of owning patent portfolios and not doing anything with them should be 100% non-viable.

                    If you added an exception for the original inventor, you might be onto something. There's a well established business model around inventing something worthwhile and monetizing it through licencing deals. However, if you're not business savvy, it can take an inordinately long time to navigate through the myriad decisions needed to get an invention made.

                    If you could limit damages anyone else could collect for infringement -- by tying them to actual manufacturing under the patent, whether by the patenthold

                • by guruevi (827432)

                  Any way of 'fixing' the patent system that involves allowing mathematical proofs or (bio)chemical processes to be patented is doomed to fail. The patent system should only allow a monopoly on the production of tangible objects for a limited amount of time. This amount of time should be enough to get investors and a production facility off the ground (~10 years) and expire into the public domain after that.

                • by s73v3r (963317)

                  But what if you don't have the means of production?

                  That's what investors are for. And if you have a patent on the item, then you should be able to get some investors willing to help you out.

                  And your example is retarded. The engineer should be starting a business making those solar cells. If he's not going to try and take advantage of the idea, then he has no business stopping someone else from doing it.

                  • How much investment does it take to start a company ? Answer, close to zero. The easy circumvention is to start a company with, say, $500 capital and then sell the company for the value of the patent (to a troll) + $500. It's one thing to make it mandatory to start a company, quite another to sue someone for being unrealistically under-capitalized to actually bring a patented invention into production.
                  • by the_arrow (171557)

                    That's what investors are for. And if you have a patent on the item, then you should be able to get some investors willing to help you out.

                    And your example is retarded. The engineer should be starting a business making those solar cells. If he's not going to try and take advantage of the idea, then he has no business stopping someone else from doing it.

                    That is retarded. What if the engineer is only in it for the fun of it? Just to see if he (or she) really can do something? If the engineer don't want to bec

            • by s73v3r (963317)

              No, I don't. And regardless of that, I believe that if you're not actually using your idea in a product, you should lose the patent protection. Patents were created to ADVANCE the Arts and Sciences, not so that someone could think something up, and then earn money off everyone else who thought it up too.

            • Actually I don't think inventors should be allowed to sell patents. The rights of a patent should be attached for the specified period of time to the inventor (or shared by an inventing team). It was originally designed as a protection for the inventor (and possibly his family). There is great evil in turning it into a commodity. First of all companies pre-empt an inventors right to a patent in many employment agreements (which is a deal with the devil , recording artists have seen this with the copyrights

      • It's more than likely, that the bought a bunch of (s)hit, and through numerous Patent Lawyers, have managed to polish SOME of the (s)hit into Gold.

        >> this is the modern-day equivalent of Alchemy!

    • by mellon (7048) on Monday May 16, 2011 @02:31PM (#36142520) Homepage

      Who cares why they think they should profit from something so obvious? Why do foxes think they should profit from rabbits' foraging? It's a meaningless question. They are just trying to feed themselves, in a way that rabbits might argue is immoral, but that no fox would agree is.

      The real question is, when are we going to stop letting foxes gnaw at our bellies and fight back?

      • by ep32g79 (538056)
        From TFA Lodsys attempts to rationalize it by saying:

        Many industries study the IP landscape prior to releasing a product or service and either design around or acquire necessary patent rights if they need them to do their solution. Usually these industries have significant capital at risk to build and/or market, so they have an economic rationale to invest resources up front to understand and clear IP rights. Oil companies do not drill on land where they don’t have the rights. Movies aren’t released that don’t clear all the music rights. Clothing manufacturers license logos from Disney or the NFL to include them in their product. Historically, the tech industry did not clear patent rights in advance because the amount of time and effort to do so made no economic sense given the relative low cost to create software and the speed at which products were being released so a norm has arisen where it’s build and ship now, and worry about clearing the patent rights later.

        So, if I am reading this correctly, they argue that because:

        1) Oil companies secure mineral rights before drilling
        2) Movie production companies secure the appropriate copyrights for music
        3) Clothing manufactures clear the respective trademark before pressing an image

        Software developers aught wade through the nebulous waters of software patents to secure any and all licenses which may or may not have anything remotely to do with the software they

        • by hedwards (940851)

          This sounds like a trap to get increased judgments when developers are found to be infringing. IANAL, but don't they increase the damages if the court finds that you've infringed on a patent and you had the audacity to conduct a search before offering your product for sale?

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            It's called "Willful Infringement". Basically, if your'e found to have prior knowledge of the patent in question, and you go ahead anyway, it's considered done on purpose (as opposed to accidental or unknowing), and the damages triple.

        • by tgatliff (311583)

          The one I am annoyed with is Apple. Apple should realize that this type of attack threatens their app-store model, and assume the responsibility of providing IP protection for their individual developers instead of leaving them in the cold. Lodsys has already admitted that they will not take on a big company due to the cost of litigation. Also, Apple receives 30% of their revenues of these developers, so they need to step in and provide patent indemnity for this particular case.

          • Apple can't pass indemnity. IANAL, but Apple would be stupid to sign a contract that did pased indemnity because it would cost them a fortune.

            Instead, prior art needs to be found so that this patent can be invalidated. Somebody, please.....

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            This happened like 3 days ago. I'm sure their lawyers are working on something.

      • by sqldr (838964) on Monday May 16, 2011 @02:59PM (#36142806)
        yeah.. we stop stop wasting people's times with frivolous death threats and actually MURDER the bastards! :-)
        • by mellon (7048)

          Yeah, right, that'll improve the situation. The last thing we need is for the people who are in favor of removing this government subsidy to come across to the general public as murderers.

          • by sqldr (838964)
            Yeah, especially when they realise that they can't spot a joke either
          • Glad you pointed that out, as I'd taken the previous comment seriously and had immediately begun planning how to implement its instruction.
    • They did answer that question, rather obliquely.

      Starting in 1988, Dan Abelow invented, put in significant amounts of his time, and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in patent filing, prosecution lawyer fees, and maintenance fees to the US Patent Office to create the patent portfolio.

      Clearly, someone who spent so much money at the patent office deserves a return on their investment. That's what the patent office is for after all, blatant extortion over things anybody would've thought of given half a brain.

      There are some kinds of cleverness that seem simple when you learn the idea, but weren't obvious before the idea was known. And whether or not you think that sort of cleverness should be rewarded with a patent, this isn't that sort of cleverness. This is patenting the bleeding obvious.

      • We shouldn't lump in legitimate uses for IP protections in with companies like Trollsys, er I mean Lodsys.

      • by Moryath (553296)

        Still doesn't answer why something Blatantly Fucking Obvious didn't fail the Obviousness test in the first place.

        US Patent Office has some explaining to do about why they are so fucking incompetent. This is clearly in the list of "how the fuck was it ever granted" patents.

        (Yes, I know... overworked due to patent slamming, paid by number of patents processed rather than quality of work done vetting them, etc).

        • I don't think that this patent was that bad in and of itself - the real question is, why can they be bought and sold like securities?

          They should be non-transferable unless the case is one of a certain company buying another.

          They shouldn't be traded like baseball cards and then used to suck money out of the system without adding a cent of value to anything, anywhere.

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            Because that provides a way for a company/person with capital to pay the person who doesn't have the capital for their invention, while transferring the risk of the business being mismanaged from the patent owner to the business runner.

            It also doesn't change anything since nothing stops the patent holder from contracting with a company to sue whomever they tell him to sue while they provide the lawyers and funds and also keep the settlements/damage awards in return for them paying him some cash.

          • by tibit (1762298)

            This solves nothing. Dan Abelow could hire a third party as a licensing subcontractor. The outcome could be financially exactly same -- after all, will you now start policing how people write contracts? They could agree to whatever, including a "hiring bonus" paid to him upon execution of contract.

          • why can they be bought and sold like securities?

            Because, like securities, patents are by definition an asset. Assets can be bought and sold. Doesn't matter what kind of asset either. You can sell receivables, inventory, property, securities, debt, and any other kind of asset you care to mention. There is absolutely no reason to make a distinction for patents.

            They should be non-transferable unless the case is one of a certain company buying another.

            Nonsense. Patents are an asset. If they are more valuable to someone else than to me I should have every right to sell or license that asset to another party. Don't conflate how an asset is us

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            Even besides that, unless you can show that you are actually using the patent in some kind of product, you shouldn't get patent protection on it. These "holding companies" are nothing but bullshit, completely contrary to the original spirit of the patent system, and a leech on society.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          I doubt that this was obvious in 1988, but still, I think the question is why the patent is still considered to be valid after all this time, I mean it took them 12 years to get some of these patents through the office, makes me wonder why the system hasn't been fixed to limit those sorts of "mistakes" when filing.

          • It wasn't obvious in 1988 because a confluence of technologies didn't exist to make it trivial. Coming up with an idea that's not obvious because its completely impractical and then suing people once it does become practical and they unwittingly implement it is ridiculous.

            • It wasn't obvious in 1988 because a confluence of technologies didn't exist to make it trivial. Coming up with an idea that's not obvious because its completely impractical and then suing people once it does become practical and they unwittingly implement it is ridiculous.

              Computers and networks didn't exist in 1988? I'm not sure what additional technologies have developed since then that had to exist before this patent could have been implemented.

              Your point is correct if, say, they were claiming a way to let man comfortably stand on the surface of Mercury, when we don't have a way to get there yet. But their claim is in-app upgrades. It doesn't need anything that didn't exist in 1988.

              • And, in 1988, how were you going to purchase that app, and how was it going to be delivered to you? I knew what the Internet was at the time, but I bet I was in a pretty exclusive club.

                • And, in 1988, how were you going to purchase that app, and how was it going to be delivered to you? I knew what the Internet was at the time, but I bet I was in a pretty exclusive club.

                  Good point. Most people would have had absolutely no idea, and only a few highly skilled people would recognize it. That means that the invention is really non-obvious. You just strengthened the patent.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        The patent system by design tends to reward the obvious.

        By the time the market and investors understand the really innovative nonobvious stuff, the patents would have expired :).

        Whereas crap like "one-click" gets rewarded.
      • They did answer that question, rather obliquely.

        Starting in 1988, Dan Abelow invented, put in significant amounts of his time, and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in patent filing, prosecution lawyer fees, and maintenance fees to the US Patent Office to create the patent portfolio.

        Actually, they did. It's on the second page:

        Q: (opinion, in several blogs): The patents are broad and should not have been granted 05/15/2011 The patents were issued and recognized as invention from a patent application filed in August of 1992. It is all too easy to look back with 18.5 years of hindsight, and knowledge of how the market has evolved, and say “of course this is how everyone is going to do it” or “the patents are too broad.”

        It's not that "gosh, we spent so much money at the patent office so we deserve a patent," but rather, if you want to claim the thing is obvious, you have to supply references from pre-August 1992 to show it was obvious. You can't just wave your hands and say "duh," since the legal standard requires more than just the conclusion.

        • I would never have guessed that's how it would happen in 1992, and neither did the patent holder.

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday May 16, 2011 @02:51PM (#36142736) Homepage

      So why do you think you should profit from something so painfully obvious?

      Well, like any patent ... to actually read this one it's anything but obvious.

      It's 79 (or so) points of an 'invention' involving ... well, 'evaluating a commodity' is the closest I could find to any useful noun, and then a bunch of subsequent claims which say various things like "claim n-1 but in fabulous pink".

      I'm not a patent attorney (or, any kind of attorney) ... this could have been describing a metaphysical system to measure karma ... who the hell knows what it actually says. It's so convoluted into legalese as to be incomprehensible. It bamboozled the USPTO into approving it, and apparently they did several patent extensions/refilings/amendments ... which, as I recall, effectively reset the clock and the patent stays in the queue but gets back dated to the original date.

      So, he came up with a vague idea, and spent literally years tweaking it endlessly to get through the system ... all the while, people were independently creating his 'idea', but he got to keep his work back dated to the original filing.

      Of course, the USPTO are morons, and their rules say that say that once they've validated a patent, you have to act like it's legit, and that becomes the law of the land. Trying to overturn a stupid and pointless patent is exceedingly difficult.

      Sadly, they now have a patent which covers ... well, it's so vague, it probably covers things we haven't even identified yet. Maybe even the stock market since it's mostly talking about valuation and distribution of commodities.

      This is no way to run a legal system.

      • ... this could have been describing a metaphysical system to measure karma ...

        Uh Oh. Slashdot's moderation system is in big trouble....

      • I'm not a patent attorney (or, any kind of attorney) ... Of course, the USPTO are morons, and their rules say that say that once they've validated a patent, you have to act like it's legit, and that becomes the law of the land.

        Since you're not an attorney, you can be forgiven for the mistake - it's not the USPTO who makes the laws, but Congress. The USPTO has to follow what Congress has said and what the Supreme Court has interpreted those laws as.

        Trying to overturn a stupid and pointless patent is exceedingly difficult.

        Actually, it's not that bad. Look up re-examination some time. It can even be done anonymously.

        Sadly, they now have a patent which covers ... well, it's so vague, it probably covers things we haven't even identified yet. Maybe even the stock market since it's mostly talking about valuation and distribution of commodities.

        This is no way to run a legal system.

        Say I'm the first person to invent the wheel. Brand new, not obvious, revolutionizes the transportation industry. At the time, I may not have envisioned the internal combustion engine, but If,

  • From TFA: "This ideation, as expressed in the patent, enabled a building block for others to build on and create more value."

    I'm pretty sure that the use of non-words like "ideation" is inversely proportional to the originality of that idea.

    • It would seem that it has been a medical term [wikipedia.org] for a while at least. I'm certain that ideation of suicide is close to the connotation they were looking for.
    • by TopSpin (753)

      I'm pretty sure that the use of non-words like "ideation"

      That word disgusted me as well. I was certain that it had to be a marketing speak neologism. It isn't. Ideation is a legitimate word, resurrected from disuse by these heinous trolls.

      Websters (1913): ideation [uchicago.edu]

  • I wish we could deal with patent trolls the same way the judge recently dealt with Righthaven by stating that having no rights other than the right to enforce the IP is on its face hollow because no damage can come to the rights holder. If the idea of copyrights and patents is to "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts," then I think it's obvious that allowing firms to just buy the right to sue over a piece of IP is against the intention in the constitution and hence invalidates their suit.
    • by kimvette (919543)

      The problem is that although the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, courts do not look at it that way.

      They layer precedent upon precedent upon precedent over the laws, which are in turn laid over the Constitution, and what you end up with is a murky soup prone to corruption, injustice, abuse and even tyranny in case.

  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Monday May 16, 2011 @02:36PM (#36142588)

    Here is the most revealing section of the "answer" given"

    http://www.lodsys.com/1/post/2011/05/q-what-is-dan-abelows-involvement-is-intellectual-ventures-behind-lodsys-or-controlling-lodsys-in-some-way.html [lodsys.com]

    For those that don't want to read the section, allow me to sum up: Some guy named Dan invested a crapload of time patenting things he had no intention of making. those patents were resold a couple times until they landed in the hands of a Patent Troll company who set up multiple smaller companies with the expressed intention of Patent trolling.

    Yep. It's every bit as obnoxious and evil as you thought it was.

  • One question though (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Monday May 16, 2011 @02:39PM (#36142616)
    Assuming this patent is valid(playing devil's advocate here), what would it mean to Apple's demands that apps allow for in-app purchases(that Apple takes a cut from)? Apple would essentially be requiring developers to use and therefore have to license this idea, and then pay the Apple royalties on top of that, would it not? Seems like this would be bad for Apple, as it would drive more people away from iOS and the app store, which would mean fewer fees and royalties for Apple.
    • I have no doubt that Apple realizes a vibrant community of developers is what fuels the app store and the iOS ecosystem, as well as the chilling effect this sort of lawsuit can have on someone looking to make apps. If at any time some patent troll can ambush you and take your revenue away, you'll think twice before starting to write an app.

      Apple has a history of taking time to respond to news like this, but I'm sure they are looking at all possible options here, from agreeing to pay more in licensing fees t

      • by StikyPad (445176)

        AUWYHSTOT (Acronyms are Useless When You Have to Spell Them Out Too)

        Only when you don't use them again. If your post happened to contain that phrase in multiple places, then it would (ironically) be useful to replace them all with AUWYHSTOT.

  • by theghost (156240) on Monday May 16, 2011 @02:45PM (#36142686)

    This one time i was at a baseball game and i bought a beer without leaving my seat. Did Lodsys get their cut off that?

    • This one time i was at a baseball game and i bought a beer without leaving my seat. Did Lodsys get their cut off that?

      Unless you and the beer vendor were coupled to a remote database through a network and you include a display and keypad for providing a user interface, then probably not.

  • If apple supplies an API for/with in-app purchasing, then I shouldn't be infringing for using it. Apple should. Then again, there were shopping apps before, and they were not infringing on in-app purchasing patents, but existed before them. Doesn't that void the patent?
  • What exactly did Lodsys "invent" here ? And how can it not be considered trivial/obvious ?

    Can I go ahead and patent In-Bar Purchasing (IBP) ? "A process where one person, robot, or legal entity, acquires food, beverage or short-lived sexual gratification in exchange for cash, credit, or barter."

    I'll gladly take 0.575% of all bar revenue worldwide. Suuuuure.

    • by gilleain (1310105)

      Can I go ahead and patent In-Bar Purchasing (IBP) ? "A process where one person, robot, or legal entity, acquires food, beverage or short-lived sexual gratification in exchange for cash, credit, or barter."

      That reminds me of a joke : "A hive intelligence, a robot, and a limited liability company walk into a bar..."

  • And yet. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <marc.paradise@g m a i l . c om> on Monday May 16, 2011 @03:25PM (#36143108) Homepage Journal
    Their responses are all - naturally - based on the assumption that their claims are valid. However, they have yet to explain how their patent -- which specifically encompasses a method of providing feedback [slashdot.org] to content creators from content consumers... has relevance to an in-app upgrade purchase. Nothing of the sort is referenced in the patent. The suggestion that such a purchase is a form of feedback is specious at best: the customer is offering no suggestions for improving or changing the product (the common example specified in the patent itself), but is rather paying continue using or unlock already-existing functionality.
    • Their responses are all - naturally - based on the assumption that their claims are valid. However, they have yet to explain how their patent -- which specifically encompasses a method of providing feedback [slashdot.org] to content creators from content consumers... has relevance to an in-app upgrade purchase. Nothing of the sort is referenced in the patent. The suggestion that such a purchase is a form of feedback is specious at best: the customer is offering no suggestions for improving or changing the product (the common example specified in the patent itself), but is rather paying continue using or unlock already-existing functionality.

      One thing to bear in mind is that in the original Slashdot story, we never saw Lodsys' letter, but just the report from the guy who received it. Lodsys most likely is asserting several patents, not just the one. That's supported also by this story [macrumors.com], which quotes Lodsys' statement that the inventor had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars obtaining the patents in question. It typically costs only about $25k to get a patent. There are probably at least half a dozen at issue here, but only one has been named.

      • Valid point - and something they make it easy to do, apparently: http://www.lodsys.com/our-patents.html [lodsys.com] At least based on the description (and I know you can't really go by that, but I don't have time to do the same digging I did for the first one - maybe someone else can) they're not immediately/obviously related.
  • So they're getting death threats over this. I'm not surprised. The big problem there is that only one of those threats ever has to be real. The thing about East Texas is that while it may be hospitable to patent trolls, it is also hospitable to gun ownership. Not a great mix.
  • Excuse me while I go patent the hyperlink as a method of selecting product or content for purchase or rental.

    I am not greedy; I seek only 0.575% of US revenue.

  • Maybe everyone here should send an email to Lodsys describing an app that they've thought about developing and ask for a license agreement? As the design for the app evolves, keep sending revisions to them to see if it requires a new agreement?

    That should at least slow down their business model.

    Hmm...that gives me an idea - maybe someone should patent the patent troll business model?

  • It's the first rule of dealing with spammers, and should be the first rule of dealing with patent trolls.

    You're fighting someone with no ethics and no memory. Assume they'll lie to you. Assume they'll lie to everyone else. And assume the lies will contradict each other, and even (sometimes) a lie will contradict itself.

    Don't give them anything: valuable information, money, or the time of day.

  • If you have amused people in the past with your application, and you respond to the user such that the amusement is; enhanced, or n-1 improved, or generally MORE amusing, you are in violation of my LOLSYS patent.

    n-2) If you are adding to the acronym LOL, such that it is LOL-Cat, or LOL-System, or other derivative of this work, such that the LOL in question is either "more" confusing, or less confusing, you are considered to be using a derivative work of the LOL architecture.

  • by Salvo (8037) on Monday May 16, 2011 @08:42PM (#36147712)

    So Apple, Google and Microsoft have already payed Licensing fees for integrating the Technology into their OS and System APIs?
    Whenever this technology is integrated into a Third-Party App, they access it using System APIs.

    If App developers use System APIs to playback h.264, MP3s and other Licensed Technolgies, they aren't expected to pay licensing to MPEG-LA or Fraunhaufer Institute. The Licensing has already been payed by the OS Vendor.

    How is this any different?

  • If this isn't the obvious way to do it then what is?

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.

Working...