Lodsys patents under attack

Several patents being flung at small developers could be rendered null and void by court action involving some big names in other parts of the US.

Three months before Lodsys demanded Apple developers cough up cash for its four patents, a case opened involving Brother, Canon, HP, Hulu, Lenovo, Lexmark, Motorola Mobility, Novell, Samsung and Trend Micro.

According to patent expert Florian Mueller, Lodsys asserted three of its patents which are currently being quoted in the current row.

All of those defendants have reacted with an answer to Lodsys’s complaint or a motion to dismiss it in its current form.

Two of the defendants have not only raised defences but also brought counter-claims to the table. Brother and Lenovo asked for declaratory judgement on non-infringement by their products and the invalidity of the two patents .

Mueller said that the app developers would no longer have to worry if both patents asserted against them have been found invalid. However, the problem there is that they would have to go to court to defend themselves which would be a bit expensive – unless Apple and Google finance their defence.

Yesterday, ForeSee Results filed a proactive declaratory judgement action against all four Lodsys patents. In that complaint, ForeSee Results said that Lodsys had “threatened assertion” of one or more of its four patents against ForeSee’s customers.

This could also save the developer’s bacon. By suing in another district first, ForeSee has greatly reduced the likelihood of any infringement assertions against its customers being decided in the Eastern District of Texas which is famous for giving cash to patent trolls.

Now if Lodsys files any such lawsuits there, ForeSee could request transfer to the Northern District of Illinois on a first-to-file basis and would be reasonably likely to succeed.

Either way it is starting to look like the Lodsys patents are not the done deal the outfit would have us believe.