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.