One company is taking aim at App Store developers over patent infringements. They claim that in-app purchasing violates their patents. So far, developer Patrick McCarron has received the treat as has James Thomson.
We’ve ranted about the US patent system many times in the past. It’s a mess. It’s getting to the point where it’s become the exact opposite of what it was designed to be. Rather than feeling safe by knowing that inventions are protected, inventors must constantly worry about whether or not they are violating a handful of some obscure company’s patents.
That’s the case again as some iOS developers are getting threatened with patent lawsuits over in-App purchases. Apparently, the patent belongs to a company in Texas called¬†Lodsys (Some of these people truly make me embarassed to say I’m Texan). They are basically a patent holding company aka patent trolls. They purchased the patent from a man named Dan Abelow. These patents are purchased and held onto until someone uses their brains to do something useful. After that, the patent holder, usually an entity that doesn’t know how to make use of said patents comes in with the legal threats. In this case, they are going after small developers that cannot go up against them in court. The reason is unknown, but it does discourage legitamite developers from releasing applications. At this point, it’s unclear whether Apple will get involved. We figure they’d stay out of it, and the patent holders realize this.
The good news is that it’s not as ridiculous as the woman who is suing Chuck E. Cheese for creating an environement that allows children to gamble. What a world.