The legal worker bees over at Lodsys have been incredibly busy lately. The company originally appeared on our collective iOS radar quite a while ago as the company has threatened to sue various iOS developers for not only using in-app purchase, but also links to upgrade to other versions of a game which Lodsys believes they hold patents for. Throughout all this, Apple has provided some backing for developers stating that their existing agreements with Lodsys protect developers, and Lodsys was quick to respond with promises of paying $1,000 to each target of this suit if they were wrong in their claims.

Previously, they've been targeting various indie developers with their legal requests and demands that said developers pay license fees. This type of tactic is particularly effective against smaller outfits, as often it can be both cheaper and easier to just pay whatever fees patent trolls demand instead of getting involved in drawn out and potentially considerably more expensive legal battles. However, as of today, things are about to get a lot more hairy.

Per a recent report from FOSS Patents, Lodsys is now including Rovio, Electronic Arts, Atari, Square Enix, and Take-Two Interactive. This brings about some interesting parallels between some previous legal drama on the App Store between Mobigame and Tim Langdell regarding a trademark over the name of the game Edge [$2.99]. Langdell was (mostly) getting away with legal intimidation tactics with Mobigame, then similarly decided to set his sights on EA. Needless to say, this turned out poorly for him.

It remains to be seen what will happen between Lodsys and the new targets of their wide-spread patent trolling, but now they've targeted companies who do actually have the resources to turn this into a proper legal war. I can't imagine things turning out well for Lodsys especially in US courts where all too often cases are decided by who has the deeper legal pockets to pay for lawyers… And really, in the mobile gaming industry, it's hard to find deeper pockets than the sleeping giants Lodsys has just awoken.

  • MouthFullOfBagels

    Another reason why the patent laws need to be looked at.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=549312424 Anonymous

      I mailed Lodsys a month ago asking them if they could provide me with links to any properties they have published or develop using the patents, so that I could be sure not to infringe on their patents.  I'm still waiting for a response, but since they can't demonstrate their patent in action, I should be okay...

      • Kshep

        I'm not defending what Lodsys is doing, but according to US law, you don't have to use a technology to get and hold a patent on it.

  • Matthew

    This is unbelievable... does Lodsys really think they own the patent on paying money for goods or services?

    • Anonymous

      Correct me if I'm wrong... but they do own this patent. Apple has licensed it from Lodsys and the argument is about how far that license stretches and whether or not it applies to the developers.

      • Anonymous

        From my understanding Yes. 
        Which means Lodsys' ownership is recognized by apple.The issue is more about rather or not Apple can umbrella the licensing onto their developers. In the end I don't see the problem since APPLE actually sells the games not the developers.

        Apple liscesned the Lodsys service and Apple is selling the products using it.

        In the end i think this is gonna be one of those you can't patent something as common as breathing deals... but who knows

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hellioz-Dogol/100001254343956 Hellioz Dogol

    This company will fail miserably.

  • http://twitter.com/countermind Jericho Hasselbush

    I'm sure Microsoft with Xbox is next. Hell, just about everything has "in-app" purchase methodologies.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QCP4WHWLUQHFIOP66SLEA7E5CA Hampus

      Well purchases on Xbox aren't really in app, don't you have to exit the game and go to the market?

    • Carl

      Microsoft has Marketplace... not "In-App" purchases.

      • Randy Magruder

        You're not entirely correct, Carl.  Many games on the XBox have, buried in their options menu, an Extras menu which takes you to marketplace to purchase premium content.  Since Lodsys has targeted both in-App Purchasing *AND* any cross-promotional links, or "upgrade now" links for content, my guess is that they could easily add Microsoft to this lawsuit, as it is exactly the same thing.

  • Adams Immersive

    Maybe their idea was always to go after little guys first—who could not defend themselves adequately—in the hopes that at least one would get to court and create a precedent before attacking the big targets? Have any of the little guys ended up in court?

  • Adams Immersive

    Maybe their idea was always to go after little guys first—who could not defend themselves adequately—in the hopes that at least one would get to court and create a precedent before attacking the big targets? Have any of the little guys ended up in court?

  • Adams Immersive

    Maybe their idea was always to go after little guys first—who could not defend themselves adequately—in the hopes that at least one would get to court and create a precedent before attacking the big targets? Have any of the little guys ended up in court?

  • Adams Immersive

    Maybe their idea was always to go after little guys first—who could not defend themselves adequately—in the hopes that at least one would get to court and create a precedent before attacking the big targets? Have any of the little guys ended up in court?

  • Anonymous

    For the lazy...
    The expert "inventor" and his terrible website: http://computing2.com/
    Lodsys' reasoning for the lawsuits: http://www.lodsys.com/1/post/2011/05/apples-license-claim-disputed1.html

  • JLX

    This seems to be the next step in Lodsys' crazy spree of suing random people.  For a while i've been saying someone should just stop them straight up.  I guess someone has decided to pay for it as Article One Partners has been hired to invalidate the patents involved.  I've submitted a few things so far, but hopefully others will get invovled too and see if we can stop this nonsense!  

  • Vimy

    sadly it looks like lodsey may have  a case. 

    i dont think they are justified, as they liscenced there tech, waited for it to get established and now that its the norm, they want a cut out of everything.

    you know, every great thing in AMERICA GETS TAKEN DOWN BY layers and suits.
    its sad really.

    hopefully Apple will step up for the little guy, either through legal support or accepting finacial responsibility for the setback and then to move on and hopefully away from questionable patent holding bottom feeders,if for no other reason than to protect the app store and IOS brand.

    this imperialist 19th century patent and IP law needs to be modernized. It wont, too much money is at stake, Like the quote above about work, Thomas Edison never invented anything, he just patented other peoples inventions. this is an old system that was design to protect the super rich and it never made sense. it only holds us back, at least in its present form, from reaching the best potential for humanity

  • Vimy

    sadly it looks like lodsey may have  a case. 

    i dont think they are justified, as they liscenced there tech, waited for it to get established and now that its the norm, they want a cut out of everything.

    you know, every great thing in AMERICA GETS TAKEN DOWN BY layers and suits.
    its sad really.

    hopefully Apple will step up for the little guy, either through legal support or accepting finacial responsibility for the setback and then to move on and hopefully away from questionable patent holding bottom feeders,if for no other reason than to protect the app store and IOS brand.

    this imperialist 19th century patent and IP law needs to be modernized. It wont, too much money is at stake, Like the quote above about work, Thomas Edison never invented anything, he just patented other peoples inventions. this is an old system that was design to protect the super rich and it never made sense. it only holds us back, at least in its present form, from reaching the best potential for humanity

  • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

    OHSNAP

  • Ecco6t9

    Wouldn't it have made more sense for Apple to buy then liquidate the company?

    • thomalex89

      No, then Lodsys wins.  

  • The Frost

    I hope Rovio, Electronic Arts, Atari, Square Enix, and Take-Two Interactive bury this Lodsys into oblivion

  • http://twitter.com/MarkEightThree MarkEightThree

    It's sad that these smaller developers get tied-up in legal BS instead of doing what they should be doing, making games!

  • Anonymous

    I've said this elsewhere, but i really think this is a poor move at intimidation on Lodsys part. 'See little guys? we're even suing the BIG guys? do you have their pockets? no? better pay up then!'. Despite what people may think of EA, they do have two things going for them. 1) They have released quality original iOS games and supported the system wholeheartedly, so have something to lose. 2) They do not just roll over and pay despite the millions they make. (see aforementioned Langdell - Mirrors Edge trademark dispute.)

    I can see EA hiring a team a very expensive lawyers to deal with this, and pounding Lodsys into the ground, IF the developer agreement with Apple allows them to do so.

    Honestly though, the fax machine era patent it relates to could even apply to demo games on xbox live, I'm surprised Lodsys haven't just gone whole hog and sued everyone.

  • PhillyX

    The US Patent system is a joke and has been for some time, especially as it applies to software.  Big companies routinely roll over and settle out of court to avoid the potential for even bigger penalties to be awarded by judges that follow the letter of the law, even when it defies common sense.

  • thomalex89

    I think it will end being invalidated.  If not I hope my patent goes through which covers 
    any extensive or prolonged time spent on an electronic divice that connects to any network be it wireless or direct link for the purpose of any form of entertainment, personal, or business use.  

    A.  Prolonged and extensive use will be determined by the patent holder.

    I am going to be rich biotch ( In my Dave Chappelle voice)

  • thomalex89

    Who are Lodsys lawyers?  They be on contingency.

    • thomalex89

      They must be on contingency that is.

  • thomalex89

    When is Lodsys going to the actual court room with any of this?  Let's get it on and see what happens. I am tired of all of this BS let's get it poppin so everyone can move on.

  • Fuelforsuccess

    Damn, I hope they shut these whiney bitches down...

  • Guest

    Who the hello is Lodsy, and what the hell is everyone talking about?

    • Anonymous

      You know when you walk in the yard and you get dog shit on your shoe then have to deal with it daily ALL BECAUSE your neighbor takes advantage of the no-leash policy in your neighborhood?  Lodsys is that shit.  And, there's nothing you can do, because no rules are broken.

  • Guest

    "This American Life" just did a podcast on software patents: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack  They uncover the fact that Lodsys and their patents might have come from Nathan Myhrvold and his company Intellectual Ventures who basically spend billions collecting patents and selling them to patent trolls like Lodsys who's company doesn't actually produce anything.  These companies exist only to sue in the name of the patents they purchase.  Intellectual Ventures then gets a percentage of their profits.