Several Indie iOS Developers Legally Threatened Over In-App Purchases

Posted May 13, 2011

James Thomson, the lead developer of a scientific calculator app called pCalc is being sued for patent infringement because his app uses Apple’s in-app purchasing system. Thomson of TLA Systems broke the news about the lawsuit on his Twitter feed.

?Just got hit by very worrying threat of patent infringement lawsuit for using in-app purchase in PCalc Lite. Legal docs arrived via fedex,? wrote Thomson. ?No idea what to do? They seem to be effectively claiming the rights to in-app purchase, but going after me, not Apple.?

Thomson is working with Apple as a first step about how to address the issue. Thomson does not want to go to court because a lawyer would burn his profits. The lawsuit does not appear to be app-specific. ?As far as I can tell this is not PCalc specific in any form,? added Thomson. ?It doesn?t seem to be in any way app-specific.?

Other developers have also been hit with lawsuit threats through FedEx as well. ?Anyone else get a patent threat via FedEx for in-app purchase use in their iOS app? So far @jamesthomson and I got hit,? said Patrick McCarron, who also received a lawsuit threat through FedEx.