June 10, 2011, 9:22 AM — Apple has filed a motion to intervene in Lodsys’s lawsuit against seven developers. As first reported by anti-patent crusader Florian Mueller on his blog, Apple’s filing already includes its answer to Lodsys’s complaint, and its own counterclaim—should the court approve Apple’s initial intervention motion.
Lodsys made headlines back in May when it sent legal threats to various iOS developers, alleging that their apps violated one or more of several Lodsys patents covering in-app purchases. The patent holder later alleged that while Apple itself already licensed its patents, individual developers needed their own licenses. Apple eventually responded, sending a letter to Lodsys contending that it “is undisputedly licensed to these patents and the Apple App Makers are protected by that license. There is no basis for Lodsys’ infringement allegations against Apple’s App Maker.”
Following Apple’s letter, Lodsys filed suit against various developers—including iOS, Mac, and Android software makers—at the end of May. Apple itself was not named as a defendant; the company’s Thursday’s filing is thus focused on seeking the judge’s approval for Apple “to intervene as a defendant and counterclaim [Lodsys]… because [Apple] is expressly licensed to provide to [App Store developers] products and services that embody the patents in suit, free from claims of infringement of those patents.” Apple alleges that “[b]oth Lodsys’s Complaint and its threats to other Apple developers adversely affect the value of Apple’s license [to the patents] and its business with Developers.”“
Apple’s filing also takes thinly-veiled jabs at the entire software patent licensing situation: “Apple periodically enters into licenses for patents that allegedly cover Apple technology,” it writes (emphasis added).