Expected by some and totally wrong-footing others, Lodsys replied to Apples legal letter last week by moving its litigation timing forward to the 31st May 2011. Previously the company had announced that it was granting 21 days to developers to negotiate a license before filing suit.
On the companies blog the following appeared on their FAQ
Q: Why did Lodsys sue some App Developers on May 31, 2011?
Lodsys chose to move its litigation timing to an earlier date than originally planned, in response to Apple’s threat, in order to preserve its legal options.
It should be noted that it is not only Apple that Lodsys is gunning for; but have filed against an app that appears on Android and at least one on the Mac platform. Also two of the companies targeted exist outside the United States. Labyrinth for iPhone and for Android from Illusion Labs and the Icon Factory for Twitterific for iPhone, iPad and Mac. A list of all 7 companies filed against can be found on the FossPatents blog
in the Lodsys blog post of 31st May the company has also disputed Apple’s assertion that developers are “undeniably licensed” for the technology by virtue of an existing licensing arrangement between Apple and Lodsys.
[Apple’s] letter was very surprising as Apple and Lodsys were in confidential discussions and there was clearly disagreement on the interpretation of the license terms of Apple’s agreement. Before, during and after these interactions, Lodsys has carefully considered this issue and consulted several legal experts to consider Apple’s claims. We stand firm and restate our previous position that it is the 3rd party Developers that are responsible for the infringement of Lodsys’ patents and they are responsible for securing the rights for their applications. Developers relying on Apple’s letter do so to their own detriment and are strongly urged to review Apple’s own developer agreements to determine the true extent of Apple’s responsibilities to them.
Simultaneous to the blog posting, Lodsys says that is has sent a detailed legal response to Apple, which it has invited the company to publish in its entirety.
Finally, Lodsys has announced that it will reimburse any developer improperly targeted by an infringement notice $1,000 for their troubles, suggesting that the firm is confident in its standing and convinced that it will prevail.
In a blog post titled Responsibility and Accountability: Lodsys USD$1,000 offer, Lodsys outline their pledge
While it is true that Apple and Lodsys have an obvious dispute about the scope of Apple’s license to the Lodsys Patents, we are willing to put our money where our mouth is and pay you something if we are wrong. Therefore, Lodsys offers to pay $1,000 to each entity to whom we have sent an infringement notice for infringement on the iOS platform, or that we send a notice to in the future, if it turns out that the scope of Apple’s existing license rights apply to fully license you with respect to our claim relating to your App on Apple iOS.