Lodsys sues developers large and small over in-app purchasing patents

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Remember Lodsys? In May 2011, the patent-holding company warned iOS developers it could sue them over in-app purchasing; Apple told Lodsys to back off; Lodsys responded by suing a bunch of developers later that month, and a few more in July of that year. Apple later successfully sought to intervene in that ongoing case.

But Lodsys wasn’t finished. It’s continued to ask developers to pay to license what it says are its patents on in-app purchasing, and claims that hundreds have done so—rather than face potentially costly litigation, anyway. And, as Mac Rumors reports, Lodsys has just kicked off another round of lawsuits. Among its defendants this time around: The Walt Disney Company (over the hugely popular Where’s My Water app, among others), TLA Systems (makers of PCalc), Gameloft, Gameevil, Jirbo, MobileAge, TMSoft, and BackFlip Studios. Those companies, of course, range from huge conglomerates (Disney) to literally husband and wife operations (TLA Systems).

None of the developers Macworld reached were willing to comment on the record, due to the legal issues involved. Several said that they had reached out to Apple this morning, but hadn’t yet heard back; nor did Apple yet respond to Macworld's request for comment. While Apple intervened in Lodsys’s broader litigation, as mentioned above, it’s unclear whether Apple has legal standing—not to mention corporate motivation—to get involved in these individual lawsuits. Apple has previously argued that its licensing of the Lodsys patents covers its developers.

Lodsys didn’t respond to Macworld’s request for comment, either. The company has voiced its belief that individual developers must license its patents, along with Apple.

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