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Here’s news of a deal that shows not all the smaller companies chasing down big companies and small developers over patent infringement allegations are trolls. MacroSolve — which in September filed a case against AT&T (NYSE: T), Citigroup, Dell, Salesforce.com, Groupon and Living Social and others — has today announced a deal with the Trump Organization to develop apps for the businesses in its portfolio.
The announcement comes at the same time that the dispute between Lodsys and app publishers for iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices over in-app transactions could see some developments, with the news that Apple has filed a patent application of its own for in-app payments.
The MacroSolve/Trump deal will see MacroSolve developing mobile apps for a range of businesses in the Trump portfolio. Details of which were not spelled out, but they could potentially include hotels, real estate, and golf courses, and a number of other odds and ends, such as the ice skating rings in New York City, which are managed by the Trump Organization. The deal appears to have been brokered directly by Donald Trump, Jr., EVP for development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization.
The Trump deal sees MacroSolve going to back to its wheelhouse, so to speak: the company says in its release that it already has a track record in developing apps for the hospitality industry.
It looks like this deal is entirely unconnected to the other recent news we have seen concerning MacroSolve and its litigating activities. In September, it announced that it had filed a case against seven large companies, including AT&T, Dell, Groupon and Living Social over how apps are created, distributed and then used to collect information about users.
The case, filed in the same court in the Eastern District of Texas as the Lodsys suit, followed another case earlier in the year, when MacroSolve also targeted developers over the same patents. The company says it intends to target 250 further companies over the same patent in future.
Although companies like Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) have enabled a huge ecosystem for apps that collectively have seen hundreds of millions of downloads every month, most developers (perhaps not Rovio, but the millions of Rovio-wannabes) will see only a small dividend paid out on their work.
Therefore, it’s no surprise, really, to see an app development company look to its own intellectual property to try to maximize that.
The company clearly has high ambitions for where it could go with its legal cases and looks like it is gearing up to target the big storefront operators soon, too: “MacroSolve’s patent covers every existing mobile app that sends data from the app user back to the makers or administrators of the app,” a spokesperson wrote in an email. “The patent puts the company in a solid position to talk with companies such as Apple Inc., Google, RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) and Getjar… in the near future for licensing the patent.”