Lodsys today officially added a spate major developers — Rovio, EA, Atari, Square Enix, Take-Two — to its patent infringement suit, according to documents filed with the International Trade Commission (ITC).
Rovio currently has one of the hottest titles, Angry Birds, on both the iOS and Android platforms. The company has seen more than 250 million downloads of the game from iOS and Android.
Rovio was not available for comment before press time.
In recent months, non-participating entities (NPE) — companies that hold patents but don’t use them — like Lodsys have been increasingly aggressive in targeting application developers with patent infringement, prompting outrage from companies like Apple and Google whose bread and butter are developers and the apps they make for their devices.
Back in May, Apple went so far as to pen an open letter to Lodsys on the matter aimed at putting Apple between Lodsys and its developers. “There is no basis for Lodsys’ infringement allegations against Apple’s App Makers,” wrote Bruce Sewell, senior vice president and general counsel for Apple. “Apple intends to share this letter and the information set out herein with its App Makers and is fully prepared to defend Apple’s license rights.”
Sewell claimed that Apple is licensed in all four of the patents upon which Lodsys is claiming infringement. “While we are not privy to all of Lodsys’s infringement contentions because you have chosen to send letters to Apple’s App Makers rather than to Apple itself, our understanding based on the letters we have reviewed is that Lodsys’s infringement allegations against Apple’s App Makers rest on Apple products and services covered by the license,” wrote Sewell, maintaining that apps are offered by Apple for use on its products and services and should thus be covered under Apple’s licensing and existing patents.
The trend towards NPAs attacking developers in the United States could be discouraging international developers from keeping their apps in U.S. stores. Earlier this week, Simon Maddox, a major developer who has created apps for Nike and Lonely Planet, tweeted that he’d had enough. “All my apps removed from US app stores (all platforms). 0.575% of total revenue put in a spare bank account. Screw you, Lodsys,” Maddox tweeted.
Lodsys has a demanded a jury trial in its current suit, which now targets 11 companies in total.
Filed Under: Industry regulations