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New York Times takes on Apple-baiting troll

LodSys patent makes infringers of us all

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Mobile-developer-bothering patent hoard LodSys is under attack from the New York Times and OpinionLabs, with the latter alleging that LodSys threatened its customers and should pay restitution.

Both are calling for dismissal of the same patent that LodSys has been waving at Apple developers along with demands for money. That patent covers in-app billing, but by extension can cover any kind of click-through revenue generation, so is being challenged by the New York Times Company.

OpinionLabs goes one step further in accusing LodSys of threatening its customers with legal action based on the patent, and demanding satisfaction.

"Lodsys has in bad faith repeatedly threatened assertion of the Patents-In-Suit against customers of OpinionLab because of their uses of the OpinionLab Online User Feedback Technology, even though those uses could not reasonably and in good faith be said to infringe any of the Patents-In-Suit," reads part of the OpinionLabs complaint, reproduced by Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents (whose blog has a load more background).

Apple leapt into the LodSys fray last month asserting that its licence on the LodSys patent covers its developers; LodSys doesn't agree. Last week LodSys expanded its accusations to another ten companies, including Best Buy, Adidas and Black & Decker, again targeting the end users of click-through techniques rather than the companies that developed or supplied them (such as OpinionLabs).

OpinionLabs reckons the threats have harmed its business, which is a new angle on an increasingly complicated patent battle. LodSys has obviously dug itself in for the long term, and considers itself funded well enough to fight all comers. That is what it's going to have to do if it's going to end up making a profit on its patents. ®

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