Last month, a company called Lodsys sent notices to iOS developers warning them that they were infringing upon patents they held. Lodsys claimed that they had a patent delineating “in-app purchases,” a feature which lets users purchase upgrades from a free app, for example.
After firing a warning shot across Lodsys’ bow a week later, Apple has apparently found it necessary to intervene further; this time in court.
Apple filed a motion yesterday in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District court of Texas, the same federal court that Lodsys filed its initial complaint.
Effectively lending their considerable legal muscle to defend third-party developers in their ecosystem, Apple moved to make themselves Lodsys’ target, claiming that they had already licensed the technology on behalf of their developers.
From the motion:
“Apple Inc. hereby respectfully moves to intervene as a defendant and counterclaim plaintiff in the above-captioned action brought by plaintiff Lodsys, LLC against seven software application developers for allegedly infringing U.S. Patent Nos. 7,222,078 and 7,620,565. Apple seeks to intervene because it is expressly licensed to provide to the Developers products and services that embody the patents in suit, free from claims of infringement of those patents.”
The court must first grant Apple’s request to be an intervener, which can be contested by Lodsys. If the court grants the motion, Apple’s already-filed answer and counterclaims will be put into effect.
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