In May 2011, a company called Lodsys filed a lawsuit against Apple application developers that have in-app purchases claiming patent violation. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) sent their own team of lawyers to look into the issue and the lawsuits are currently on-going. Yesterday a patent filing by Apple was noticed by TomsGuide.com that makes the case more interesting.
The patent Lodsys owns that they claim gives them the right to collect royalties from in-app purchases is called “Customer-based product design module.” That patent was filed in 2006 and was granted in November 2009. Lodsys’ patents describes an idea for enabling a future interaction with a customer within a service or application that includes a “purchase order.”
Apple filed for an “In Application Purchasing” document that directly describes the offer of a product purchase, a translucent purchase interface, a partially transparent purchase interface, an application server that targets the app to a user, an ad that could represent an application, and the opportunity to buy a product directly from a separate store.
“Consumers can be extremely fickle and accordingly many different things can cause a consumer to walk away from a potential purchase. Each step in the purchasing process presents a new opportunity for the consumer to decide not to purchase a product,” states Apple’s patent application. If Apple’s patent is granted, then the two companies could challenge each other.
[Apple’s Patent Filing]