‘Berry Bad Things: Playbook App Developer In Patent Brouhaha

The developer of a Blackberry Playbook app has come under fire for an alleged patent infringement — and he’s turning to Research in Motion (the Playbook’s parent company) for help.

The news comes in the wake of a series of suits filed by Lodsys, a US licensing firm who own a patent for in-app payment methods.  So far, Lodsys has blitzed more than 30 large companies — including Best Buy, adidas AG and The New York Times Co. — and dozens of smaller developers with patent infringement and licensing demand notices.

One of the latter is Yissachar Radcliffe, a York (Canada) college student who, under the name “Rotten Ogre,” created the Playbook game Lonely Turret.  The app included an embedded link to to Blackberry’s app market, allowing the user to buy a full version of the game.

That was enough for Lodsys to cry foul and send Radcliffe an infringement notice.  Radcliffe, in turn, was  dumbfounded that anyone would interpret the patent broadly enough to think a mere link was an “in-app payment method.”

Other small developers in similar circumstances have faced financial ruin, unable to mount the legal fees necessary to argue their case in court; at best, they’ve been forced to remove in-app payment functionality or pull their apps from the US market entirely.   So Radcliffe — believed to be the first Blackberry app coder targeted by Lodsys — contacted the Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM to ask for advice and possible assistance.  As of press time, he had not received a response.

[Via The Globe and Mail]

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