How mobile app developers can protect themselves from patent trolls

In 2011, Lodsys filed a lawsuit that contended iOS developers including Rovio Mobile, Atari, Electronic Arts, Square Enix and Quickoffice violated Lodsys' intellectual property right by implementing in-app purchase options within their iPhone and iPad applications. Apple eventually intervened in the situation. However, the issue helped bring attention to an issue that is increasingly key to mobile app developers: how to protect themselves from patent trolls. More recently, the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet held a hearing about how patent trolls could hurt job creation and competitiveness. Around the same time, the App Developers Alliance kicked off a planned 15-city tour where developers can learn about how to fight patent trolls. Also last week, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced plans to introduce a bill that would ease the investigation of potentially bogus patent suits by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office before they could reach the courts. In this FierceDeveloper report, Editor Shane Schick takes a look at how developers should respond to patent lawsuits and what they can do to defend themselves. Special Report