“Everyone was probably hoping that the situation with Lodsys asking app developers for royalty payments on its patents would somehow get diffused over time, but for now it just looks like it is getting messier. On the back of Lodsys last week filing lawsuits against seven developers who make apps for Appleâ€™s App Store, the Cupertino giant has now filed a motion to intervene in that suit.
If granted, the motionâ€”first revealed by patents blogger Florian Muellerâ€”would make Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) an additional defendant in the case being made by Lodsys, which claims that the developers are infringing on patents that it holds on in-app transactions.”
If you haven’t been following this story, here’s a recap: a patent holding company called Lodsys holds some sort of patent for in-app purchasing. Apple licenses this patent for its app stores. Lodsys wants to make more money though, so it sues third-party developers making apps that use Apple’s in-app purchasing system.
How lovely. It’s good to see Apple defending its developers, but the real moral of the story is this: software patent law is utterly broken. Software innovation will come to a standstill at some point if we keep giving patents for every variation of code. It’s just not something the patent was designed to cover when it was first conceived more than a century ago.