Lodsys, the king troll of all patent trolls, has been attacking developers of both Android and iOS apps for a few months now (yeah, even Rovio) with their claims of owning a patent to the free->paid upgrade process using in-app purchases.
Well, it seems Lodsys has gotten a lot more gravitas in the last few months due to the success of its patent-trolling efforts. The company's legal reps have amended a complaint filed in the Eastern District of Texas (also known as the "rocket docket" district for the speediness and plaintiff-friendliness of its trials), and it's a doozy.
From Lodsys's Complaint
Lodsys has sued Rovio over Angry Birds for Android (and iPhone), along with Electronic Arts (EA), Atari, Square Enix, and Take-Two Interactive - and many others (37 total, in fact).
Update: Cory Trese's infringement notice was apparently sent to him by mistake - whatever that means. He received a call from Lodsys stating they'd like all the materials they sent returned. What's happened? Who knows, but as someone in our team chat room sarcastically stated - maybe they forgot a zero somewhere.
This isn't a friendly letter.
You've all probably heard bits and pieces of news about a company called Lodsys in the last couple of weeks, (they've been "patent trolling" iOS app developers) even if you don't really keep up on all things fruit-related. If you're not familiar with the story, let me give you a quick rundown.
Lodsys is what we affectionately refer to as a "patent troll" - a company that buys up promising and often vague or [overly] broad patents in a hope of using them to threaten to sue the pants off people that they know might be infringing on them.
Last month, Google bid $2 million for the patents of the now-defunct micro-cell phone company Modu, fueling speculation as to just what Google's plans would be with that intellectual property. Today, it was announced that the bidding process for the last remnants of Modu's legacy had ended, and Google was the winner (albeit by a narrow margin of $10,000), with a final offer of $4.9 million.
If you've never heard of Modu before, don't worry - the company came out of Israel, and was generally unknown to most of us in the US-of-A until it started having financial troubles.
Personally, I both love and despise April Fool's day. On one hand, it is a lot of fun, but on the other, it makes me waste entirely too much time trying to see as many jokes as I can and then figure out which stories are real and which ones are not. Alas, such is life, and April 1st will keep coming every year (at least until 2012 :-S), so we'll just roll with it and link the best Android-related trolls of the day.
Among all the awesome (or really bad, depending on your mood) April Fool's jokes today, Google's web form for submitting Android Market copyright infringements towers above all, especially considering it's not a joke, at all. We really doubt that it's intentional because this behavior was present before April 1st arrived to California, and it is mind boggling that something like this would fall through the cracks and get past Google's Quality Assurance.
If there is one thing I despise in the world of Android, it is piracy and specifically Android sites that let you download paid apps, oftentimes for a monthly membership fee. Most Android developers are not large corporations, but rather independent, smalltime individuals to whom every download counts. Today's story, therefore, gives me added pleasure, because in it, pirates are implicated in one of the most embarrassing ways I can imagine.