May 28 AT 11:33 AM Sean Riley 13 Comments

Patent troll Lodsys is now lumbering towards Android developers

The patent holding company troll, Lodsys LLC., that has been popping up in the tech news lately for being a thorn in the side of iOS developers has now broadened their horizons and brought Android developers into the mix.

In case you haven’t been following the story the brief version is that Lodsys holds a number of patents which relate to the implementation of in-app purchasing and they have been sending letters to iOS and now Android developers demanding 0.575% on every US sale until the patent expires in 2023.

One recipient of Lodsys’ attentions is Clapfoot, Inc., the developers of Tank Hero (which is a good game by the way) and one of the early adopters of the in-app payment system which has only been available to Android developers since the end March. As a very small development team with over 4 million downloads of their app, they made an excellent target for Lodsys. As they don’t exactly have a legal team on retainer, they took to Google Groups to look for help from Google and/or their fellow developers.

We recently implemented in-app purchases for our Android application and several weeks later we received a letter from
Lodsys, claiming that we infringed on their patents. Have any other Android developers out there been sent a letter? Has
Google taken any action on this issue yet? Has Google given direction to any developers that have been hit by this? We are obviously a small
shop and are not financially capable of defending ourselves over a litigation.

We would appreciate any helpful responses (especially from the Android team).markusn82on Android Discuss

That discussion thread continues to grow and some are offering advice, but at the time that this post is going up there hasn’t been a response from another developer that has received the letter or from a Google employee.

While it’s sometimes fun to play armchair lawyer, I’m not going to pretend that I know the answer to this one. I can tell you that Lodsys indicated on their blog that Google (along with Apple and Microsoft) is a licensee. With that in mind we can probably expect to see them take a similar stance to that of Apple, which was quite simply that they hold a license on these patents and that the developers utilizing it within the confines of the App Store (or in this case the Android Market) are protected by that same license. That seems like a reasonable position, but reason and the law often seem to be at odds with one another.

We have reached out to Google regarding the status of their license on the Lodsys patents and whether they believe that their license is sufficient to cover Android developers using in-app payments and will update this post when we have a response.

Source: Android Discuss Google Group

Sean has been with Android and Me for over 5 years and covering mobile for the last 6. He occasionally muses about gadgets and tech outside of the Android universe at Techgasms.

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  • http://Website kazahani

    Can you say tort reform???

  • http://Website Mark

    If I had the power, I would abolish all forms of patents in the tech world. Companies are just using to hold back real competition or totie down businesses. It’s like the whole issue over multi touch gestures. This is just as stupid if not worse.

    • http://Website Patricia81

      NO WAY, the cheatin chinese already disrupt our economies around the world. China is evil.

  • http://Website Lucas

    this is getting ridiculous. everyone is suing everyone… heres a little picture showing all of them, its quite funny and sad a the same time : tiny.cc/458pr

  • http://Website Gabe

    Why are the cover story pictures getting scarier and scarier..?

    • Angie Strickland

      Everyone is suing everyone…

      • http://Website pax

        This is United States of America where everyone sues everyone!!

      • http://Website Patricia81

        and the chinese get a crap, little bass tards

  • http://Website Antwan

    LMAO! Everyone will continue to sue everyone until patent equilibrium is reached.

    • http://Website Lucas

      Patent equilibrium for a better World.

  • http://Website Larry

    Two words. Fuck them.

  • http://Website Rovex

    I think Patents should be held on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis. If you dont make use of for within a year or so it goes public domain. Patent holding companies would not exist. They stifle innovation and advancement.

  • http://Website fgmhsd

    Lodsys sucks But so do all the fags posing here with their one line two word comments. Especially you Alex you suck balls.