Lodsys wants more time to address the request by Apple to intervene in its court proceedings against seven small app developers, FOSS Patents reported on Wednesday. Lodsys holds patents related to in-app purchasing it claims are being infringed upon by App Store developers, who aren’t covered by Apple’s own license to the technologies, according to Lodsys’ understanding of the agreement.
The original deadline for Lodsys to respond to Apple’s motion was June 27, or this upcoming Monday. Lodsys has asked for two more months, which FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller says is an unusually long extension to seek. Still, Apple is apparently fine with the request according to a statement made to the court by Lodsys counsel.
But two months is a long time for developers caught up in this mess to be waiting with bated breath. The developers named in the suit still have to formally respond to Lodsys’ complaint, and while it’s possible that the extension, if granted, will apply to them as well, that is by no means a certainty. Yet obviously, whether or not Apple is included in the proceedings will have a huge influence on how developers proceed in dealing with the allegations of infringement by Lodsys. It’s still not clear what exactly Apple is advising affected developers to do, but based on comments made by some of those involved, Apple does appear to be providing behind-the-scenes guidance. Google, on the other hand, has yet to intervene, and Android developers are starting to become increasingly apprehensive, as more and more are receiving legal threats from Lodsys.
Mueller suggests that this request for a delay by Lodsys, and Apple’s lack of opposition to it, could indicate that the companies are engaged in behind-the-scenes negotiation to resolve this matter without further involving developers or the legal system. Whatever the outcome of this latest move by Lodsys, I think this tweet from Android developer Cory Trese best sums up one of the most important lasting effects this case could have on mobile development:
Samsung doesn’t get a sneak peek
In Apple’s other major ongoing legal kerfuffle, the judge in the pitched intellectual property battle between Samsung and the Mac maker has denied Samsung’s request for early access to the iPhone 5 and iPad 3, hardware that hasn’t even been announced, much less released to the public.
While the judge admitted that Samsung has a right to parity, and had previously granted Apple access to unreleased devices like the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Tab 10.1, she thought Samsung’s request in this instance went too far. The products Apple sought to see were already circulating to reviewers and developers, after all, not just assumed to be in development like the iPhone and iPad successors.
Still, it isn’t all good news for Apple. Since Cupertino amended its original complaint to place stricter definitions on what products it thinks Samsung infringed upon in order to block the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 requests, the judge hinted that any request from Apple for an injunction of sales in the U.S. on new Samsung devices might not apply. That’s because a big part of a successful injunction request involves proving that consumers will be genuinely confused by the similarities between devices, and the judge suggested that “there is little likelihood” of confusion with new Samsung devices, since the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 may “soon be outmoded and reduced in price,” and “are not being sold (or very soon will not be sold) to the same class of purchasers who are likely to buy new Samsung products.”
Florian Mueller thinks seeking an injunction would be a risky move on Apple’s part, given what the judge has expressed. It stands a fair chance of being turned down, which might be a black eye for Apple for outside observers, Mueller says. Of course, even if an injunction is rejected, it shouldn’t affect Apple’s larger case against Samsung, which is really what Apple is more concerned with here.