June 11, 2011
As expected, Apple -- having already taken an official position backing its app developers in the Lodsys case -- has now legally stepped into the fray, as well. First reported by Florian Mueller of Foss Patents, Apple's filed intervention is likely to be upheld, as it cites three very similar (and relatively recent) precedents. Again claiming that its developers are covered under its license with Lodsys, Apple appears to be firmly committed to protecting them via the patent exhaustion (or "first case") doctrine. Additionally, says Mueller, Apple seems to be encouraging the notion (albeit nonspecifically) that it'll assist developers with defense resources:
The app developers whom Lodsys sued appear to be bound by a non-disclosure agreement (which makes sense), so they can't speak out on their current relationship with Apple. While I don't have any confirmation from anyone that Apple has agreed to cover those defendants' costs and potential risks, it's hard to imagine how else this could work. In its motion, Apple states explicitly that the sued app developers are "are individuals or small entities with far fewer resources than Apple and [...] lack the technical information, ability, and incentive to adequately protect Apple's rights under its license agreement."For those involved in Lodsys' dispute, this is decidedly good news. And, though it may have taken some time, I don't believe anyone thought Apple would really hang its devs out dry. Keep coding with confidence, guys!