1. the_sleuth's Avatar
    App Developers Withdraw From U.S. As Patent Fears Reach 'Tipping Point'

    Charles Arthur, On Saturday July 16, 2011, 6:43 pm EDT

    App developers are withdrawing their products for sale from the US versions of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market for fear of being sued by companies which own software patents - just as a Mumbai-based company has made a wide-ranging claim against Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT - News), Apple (NSDQ:AAPL - News), Google (NSDQ:GOOG - News), Yahoo (NSDQ:YHOO - News) and a number of other companies over Twitter-style feeds, for which it claims it has applied for a patent.
    Software patent owners in the U.S. have latched onto potential revenue streams to be earned from independent developers by suing over perceived infringements of their intellectual property - which can be expensive for developers to defend even if they are successful.

    Now developers in Europe are retreating from the US to avoid the expense and concern such “patent trolls” are causing.
    Simon Maddox, a UK developer, has removed all his apps from U.S. app stores on both iOS and Android for fear of being sued by Lodsys, a company which has already sued a number of iOS and Android developers which it says infringe its software patent.
    Shaun Austin, another app developer based in Cheltenham, said that “selling software in the US has already reached the non-viable tipping point”.
    And Fraser Speirs, a Scottish developer who has written apps for the Mac and iOS, remarked that he was “starting to get seriously concerned about my future as a software developer due to these patent issues”.

    The growth of patent lawsuits over apps raises serious issues for all the emerging smartphone platforms, because none of the principal companies involved - Apple, Google or Microsoft - can guarantee to protect developers from them. Even when the mobile OS developer has signed a patent licence - as Apple has with at least one company currently pursuing patent lawsuits - it is not clear that it has any legal standing to defend developers.
    That has led developers to take evasive action. On Wednesday Maddox tweeted that he was removing his apps from US app stores and putting 0.575% of total revenue into a spare bank account. “Screw you, Lodsys”, he commented.
    He told the Guardian that it’s “far too dangerous to do business” in the U.S. because of the risk of software patent lawsuits.

    But for U.S.-based developers, the problems remain. Craig Hockenberry of Iconfactory, developer of Twitterrific, remarked that “Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, they do and tweeted that “I became an independent developer to control my own destiny. I no longer do”. Iconfactory is among those being targeted by Lodsys, but earlier this week was granted a 30-day extension to reply to Lodsys’s claim.
    Meawhile Kootol Software of Mumbai announced that it has sent a notice to Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Google, IBM, Research in Motion (NSDQ:RIMM - News), LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD - News), MySpace (NSDQ:NWS - News), Research in Motion and a number of other companies - including Iconfactory - claiming that they infringe US patent application 11/995,343 - “A Method and System for Communication, Advertising, Searching, Sharing and Dynamically Providing a Journal Feed” - which it said has also been applied for in India, Canada and Europe.

    It says that patent it is seeking is an invention which “allows the user to publish and send messages using one way or two way messaging and by subscribing to posts of other users of a network. By indexing each message of each user the system provides real time search capabilities to users of the network in turn creating a unique form of communication.”
    The company claims that it covers core messaging, publication and real-time searching, and that the named companies “may violate [our] intellectual property by using it for their website, networks, applications, services, platforms, operating systems and devices.”

    Because the patent has not apparently been granted by the U.S. Patent Office or any other patent office, the warning message may give the companies involved the chance to contact the relevant examiners and have the claim invalidated because “prior art” - implementations which predate the application - already exist, notes Florian Mueller, who has followed the development of the field.

    Mueller commented: “What surprises me is that the various patent offices examining this application haven’t been able to reject it a while ago.” This one is several years old. But now that many large players have been approached, chances are that this patent application will encounter some serious resistance. Let’s hope it never gets granted in the first place.”

    Update: Mueller now says it is “too late to stop” the Kootol application becoming a patent in the US, with a strong presumption of validity in U.S. courts. A Scribd document has more details.

    App Developers Withdraw From U.S. As Patent Fears Reach 'Tipping Point' - Yahoo! Finance
    07-16-11 10:03 PM
  2. blue81to's Avatar
    Can someone translate that into layman's terms?
    07-17-11 01:23 AM
  3. NFLPLAYBOOK's Avatar
    It sounds like Lodsys has an application for a patent which basically holds the rights to all kind of instant messaging. That includes blogging. They applied several years ago and looks like it's going to be granted. So BBM ICQ Aim Yahoo Windows Messenger and all the blogging and forum apps will have to pay them for the right to use it. By the looks of it, it is only for mobile devices though. I don't know how they will win against Microsoft seeing that they already had instant messaging on PCs long before it was on a mobile device. I wonder if this also includes text messaging. Wow a blanket patent for all instant written communication over a mobile interface.
    07-17-11 07:14 AM
  4. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    It sounds like Lodsys has an application for a patent which basically holds the rights to all kind of instant messaging. That includes blogging. They applied several years ago and looks like it's going to be granted. So BBM ICQ Aim Yahoo Windows Messenger and all the blogging and forum apps will have to pay them for the right to use it. By the looks of it, it is only for mobile devices though. I don't know how they will win against Microsoft seeing that they already had instant messaging on PCs long before it was on a mobile device. I wonder if this also includes text messaging. Wow a blanket patent for all instant written communication over a mobile interface.
    It doesn't look to include IM apps as it has to do with the ability to publish said content,

    So it looks like it applies to any RSS style reader with the ability to post back to the site from within the app, Any app that streams twitter, and lets you post on twitter, any app that streams facebook status updates and post back, or apps that might feed you with site updates, and allow you to comment to those site updates would be infringing this attempted patent.

    Apple recently got a patent for rotating a screen from Landscape to Portrait and everything changing the orientation whilst doing so, It is a bit laughable since other people have been using it since the early 90's and apple has applied and been granted the patent in the US this year. that will be interesting how that unfolds, the US releases sooo many disputable patents it's like their clerks are from the Movie Clerks.
    07-17-11 07:58 AM
  5. daveycrocket's Avatar
    I didn't think that you can patient an idea only the way of achieving it, isn't that a bit like patienting flying to the moon because if it is, there's a cow in serious trouble!
    07-17-11 10:11 AM
  6. lnichols's Avatar
    US Patent law and Patent houses who don't make anything and only sue those who do are killing innovation. Laws need to be changed to make sure that companies who aren't using a patent can't claim it as their own, or if they do sue, they have to show that they will be using it soon in a product.
    07-17-11 12:08 PM
  7. Branta's Avatar
    I didn't think that you can patient an idea only the way of achieving it, isn't that a bit like patienting flying to the moon because if it is, there's a cow in serious trouble!
    That is the insane concept provided by US patent laws, a concept can be patented. I believe the Japanese laws are even more ridiculous, and it may be possible to patent an abstract concept which has no practical implementation.
    07-17-11 04:08 PM
  8. BBThemes's Avatar
    there will come a time when all the big mobile players get in a room, and squash all the patent trolls as a joint group, thats the only way the patent system and trolls will get reformed.
    07-17-11 07:45 PM
  9. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    there will come a time when all the big mobile players get in a room, and squash all the patent trolls as a joint group, thats the only way the patent system and trolls will get reformed.
    If All of the BIG players started lobbying the US government for reforms to the system that would work better.

    The Big Problem is, all the main players are Patent Trolls themselves, look at Apple, they try and Patent everything under the sun,
    Microsoft, Oracle, Sony, they all chance patents,
    07-17-11 07:48 PM
  10. BBThemes's Avatar
    If All of the BIG players started lobbying the US government for reforms to the system that would work better.

    The Big Problem is, all the main players are Patent Trolls themselves, look at Apple, they try and Patent everything under the sun,
    Microsoft, Oracle, Sony, they all chance patents,
    i totally agree with you, some of apples patents are very iffy to say the least, but if/when it starts hurting alot of their devs, and lets face it devs are how a platform is percieved now, they`ll have to do it or lose position
    07-17-11 07:59 PM
  11. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    i totally agree with you, some of apples patents are very iffy to say the least, but if/when it starts hurting alot of their devs, and lets face it devs are how a platform is percieved now, they`ll have to do it or lose position
    BUT!!
    Microsoft has a lot to be made by keeping the patents going, as does Oracle if their claims to Android prove true, with the explosion of Android Sales both Microsoft and Oracle wouldn't want to help Apple, who historically are not interested in Helping other players in similar industries, with the exception of Nortel Patents. ha!
    07-17-11 08:03 PM
  12. BBThemes's Avatar
    BUT!!
    Microsoft has a lot to be made by keeping the patents going, as does Oracle if their claims to Android prove true, with the explosion of Android Sales both Microsoft and Oracle wouldn't want to help Apple, who historically are not interested in Helping other players in similar industries, with the exception of Nortel Patents. ha!
    id say following the latest news that google will actively back HTC over the apple patent that things could get very interesting, its in googles best interest to get patent reform, and they probably have the spare $$ to get it thru
    07-19-11 09:42 AM
  13. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    There are going to be a lot of politicians in the US getting their pockets lines much thicker in the coming year

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    07-19-11 12:21 PM
  14. cwong15's Avatar
    there will come a time when all the big mobile players get in a room, and squash all the patent trolls as a joint group, thats the only way the patent system and trolls will get reformed.
    The big mobile players can do nothing. Don't forget, these are merely corporations. They have no coercive power. Only the government has coercive powers, and it is exercising those powers in the courts on behalf of patent trolls.

    Patent trolls are vulnerable only to the extent that they have exposure. You have the little trolls -- obscure entities with no legitimate economic activity -- whose sole purpose in life is threats and litigation. What can a mobile company do to them? You have the big trolls like Kodak: a mere husk of a formerly great company that still has a massive patent portfolio on imaging and no mobile product: they have nothing to lose. Without patent reform, the trolls -- big and little -- will continue to make life miserable for people trying to innovate and do something productive. And the government will be on their side.
    the_sleuth likes this.
    07-20-11 09:39 AM
  15. 01itr's Avatar
    If you want a good laugh, look at the patents Apple is suing HTC over. If they win this they can pretty much sue every smartphone maker on the planet.

    FOSS Patents: These tables show HOW Android infringes Apple's two HTC-beater patents

    This needs to change.
    07-20-11 10:26 AM
  16. Rootbrian's Avatar
    If you want a good laugh, look at the patents Apple is suing HTC over. If they win this they can pretty much sue every smartphone maker on the planet.

    FOSS Patents: These tables show HOW Android infringes Apple's two HTC-beater patents

    This needs to change.
    Sheesh. That might cause a massive protest if people take that sh!te too far!

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    07-20-11 11:14 PM
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