A federal judge has finally granted Apple's motion to intervene on behalf of iOS developers who have found themselves in a legal battle against Lodsys. It took the court nearly a year to come to this decision. This ruling allows the iOS platform holder to argue in court on behalf of developers who have been sued over alleged patent infringement for using the iOS system's in-app purchasing APIs. Apple has licensed the technology from Lodsys so it will argue in court that developers who use the platform do not infringe on the patent because Apple already obtained a license.
Lodsys fired the first shot against iOS developers went it decided to start sending threatening letters to them claiming that using in-app purchasing functions in their apps violated a patent it acquired from Intellectual Ventures. That patent is called "Methods and systems for gathering information from units of a commodity across a network." Apple told Lodsys that it had no right to charge developers for using the function because its license covered them. Apple obtained the license through a prior investment in Intellectual Ventures. Lodsys responded by saying that Apple's license did not extend to third-party developers, and decided to file a number of lawsuits against various developers.
Apple filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit, which eventually targeted a number of Android and other developers.
Apple's motion to intervene was filed in June of 2011, and developers entered 2012 not knowing if Apple would be able to help them. The long delay in the decision is due to several factors including the original judge assigned to the case resigning and the case being reassigned to a new judge. Luckily for Apple and the developers it seeks to protect from Lodsys, Judge Rodney Gilstrap has agreed that Apple should be allowed to present evidence of its patent exhaustion argument on behalf of iOS developers.
Google is helping Android developers by going a different route: having Lodsys's patents ruled invalid by the US Patent & Trademark Office.
Source: Ars Technica