Apple Intervenes in Lodsys Suit Against iOS Developers

TYLER, Texas -- Apple has intervened in a lawsuit that patent holding company Lodsys has waged against iOS developers, arguing that the company is fully licensed to use Lodsys technology and that going after iOS developers could adversely affect Apple's app business.

Last week, Lodsys sent out FedEx letters to numerous online adult companies saying that they are infringing on U.S. Patent No. 7,222,078, the same patent Lodsys is going after with the iOS developers.

"The license expressly permits Apple to offer and otherwise make available to its developers' products and services that embody the inventions contained in the patents in suit," Apple lawyers said in a Thursday filing at U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas, a patent friendly court because of its expedited hearings with intellectual property filings.

Some of Lodsys complaints relative to iOS developers involve the apps Quickoffice, Shadow Era, Hearts and Daggers and Twitterific.

U.S. Patent No. 7,222,028 covers "methods and systems for gathering information from units of a commodity across a network."

Even though Apple has licenses for Lodsys patents, Lodsys argued that those licenses don't extend to app developers.

Apple says its license extends to the APIs it provides its developers for app development.

The company asked that the court allow it to intervene on behalf of its developers. If granted, Lodsys would have to battle Apple rather than small developers who likely don't have the funds or legal wherewithal to battle a patent lawsuit.