Previously, we reported on the ongoing battle between Apple and Lodsys over licensing to app developers. Lodsys claims that its agreement with Apple did not give third-party developers free rein to use the patented technology while Apple insists that the license does cover its app developers. Now, Lodsys has added its most prominent (app developer) defendants yet to the complaint: Rovio Mobile Ltd. (the maker of “Angry Birds”); Electronic Arts, Square Enix, Atari, and Take-Two Interactive.
The lawsuit accuses the mobile app developers of violating two patents that cover a technology which allows users to make in-game purchases through the application. They are U.S. Patent Numbers 7,620,565, titled “Customer-Based Product Design Module,” and 7,222,078, titled "Methods and Systems for Gathering Information from Units of a Commodity across a Network". The '565 patent was issued in November 2009, and the '078 patent was issued in May 2007.
The original lawsuit followed some back and forth between Lodsys and Apple over licensing permissions. There had been private negotiations on the matter, but Lodsys took the issue to court following a letter from Apple apparently asking Lodsys to ease off app developers for the iPhone. It is worth noting that the present suit includes not only developers for the iPhone, but also app developers for Android. "Angry Birds," and another game cited in the complaint, "Labyrinth", both run on the iPhone as well as Android platforms. There has been no word yet from Google on the matter. Lodsys is seeking injunctions, treble damages, and attorney’s fees as relief. For more coverage of this case, see Law 360.