As I suspected they would, Apple just stepped up and told the douchebags at Lodsys to suck a gigantic sack of cock. Realistically, it’s not like Apple could have responded in any other way. Apple has obviously bet big on collecting its cut of In App Purchases and anything that threatened that revenue was going to get the ol’ horse head in bed routine.
More to the point, Lodsys was advancing a novel new patent-troll business model that I like to think of as the La Cosa Nostra theory of patent trolling. Basically Lodsys wanted to wet their beaks at every point at which money changes hands. Apple slapped that bullshit down with a fierceness:
Through its threatened infringement claims against users of Apple’s licensed technology, Lodsys is invoking patent law to control the post-sale use of these licensed products and methods. Because Lodsys’s threats are based on the purchase or use of Apple products and services licensed under the Agreement, and because those Apple products and services, under the reading articulated in your letters, entirely or substantially embody each of Lodsys’s patents, Lodsys’s threatened claims are barred by the doctrines of patent exhaustion and first sale. As the Supreme Court has made clear, “[t]he authorized sale of an article that substantially embodies a patent exhausts the patent holder’s rights and prevents the patent holder from invoking patent law to control postsale use of the article.” Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Elecs., Inc., 553 U.S. 617 (2008).
Now, does any of this solve the problems plaguing software patents? Of course not. Nor does it magically protect independent developers accused of infringing on patents that Apple doesn’t happen to have a pre-existing license. But at least it shows that Apple is willing to go to bat for developers who committed no offense but to follow Apple’s rules.
I suspect now that the narrative will move to the speed of Apple’s response. Claims will be made that Apple took too long, or that they only made this move due to boycotts, or pissy letters from the EFF, or due to threats of Craig Hockenberry’s fleshy palm (my personal choice). Let me counter those comments with five words:
Seven. Mother. Fucking. Business. Days.
In the world of legal responses that’s a fucking split second.
At any rate, now we can move on to the next Apple outrage. I’m betting on long lines for the crappers at WWDC.