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Rovio Sued Over Angry Birds Patent Infringement

By - Source: FOSS Patents | B 44 comments

Angry birds developer Rovio has been dragged into a lawsuit over patent infringement filed by Lodsys against eleven defendants.

Developer Rovio and its famed physics-based game Angry Birds has become one of the primary targets in a recent patent infringement lawsuit.

The complaint was originally filed by patent licensing firm Lodsys at the end of May, but was recently amended to remove Vietnamese company Wulven Games. In its place, five highly-popular (and highly lucrative) game companies were added including Rovio, Electronic Arts, Atari, Square Enix and Take-Two Interactive.

According to the lawsuit, Rovio is accused of infringing at least one of Lodsys' patents with Angry Birds for Apple's iOS and Google's Android OS.

"Defendant Rovio has infringed and continues to infringe, directly, indirectly, literally, under the doctrine of equivalents, contributorily, and/or through the inducement of others, one or more of the claims of the '565 patent," the lawsuit reads. "Rovio makes, sells, uses, imports, and/or offers to sell infringing applications, including but not limited to Angry Birds for iPhone and Angry Birds for Android, which infringe at least claim 27 of the '565 patent under 35 U.S.C. § 271."

As for the other developers, the lawsuit covers The Sims 3 for the iPhone (EA), Atari's Greatest Hits for iPhone and Atari's Greatest Hits for iPad (Atari), Big Hit Baseball for iPhone and Big Hit Baseball for iPad (Square Enix), and 2K Sports NHL 2K11 for iPhone (Take-Two). The lawsuit also names Combay Inc., Iconfactory Inc., Illusion Labs, Michael G. Karr (Shovelmate), Quickoffice and Richard Shinderman as defendants, totaling eleven.

Lodsys began making legal waves in early May by filing patent infringement lawsuits against James Thomson, the developer behind Pcalc for iOS, and Computer LogicX, the company behind the Mix & Mash and Mix & Mash LITE apps for iOS.

"Our app, Mix & Mash, has the common model of a limited free, lite, version and a full version that contains all the features," said Computer LogicX owner Rob Gloess. "We were told that the button that users click on to upgrade the app, or rather link to the full version on the app store was in breach of US patent no 7222078, we couldn't believe it, the upgrade button!?!"

As MacRumors reports, the patent in question was filed back in December 2003 "as part of series of continuations on earlier patent applications dating back to 1992." The patent was originally owned by Dan Abelow who sold it along with his "extensive portfolio of patents" to Lodsys in 2004. Apple claims that its license to the Lodsys patents extends out to its third-part developers, giving them complete and undisputable freedom "to use the covered inventions without paying royalties or fearing lawsuits." But Lodsys disagrees, stating that Apple's claim of infallibility "has no discernible basis in law or fact."

And as seen with the latest amended lawsuit, Android developers aren't immune to the Lodsys legal sweep. FOSS Patents, the blog that discovered the amended lawsuit that now includes Angry Birds for iOS and Android, reports that Lodsys has issued a number of assertion letters to Android developers. "Google's silence and inactivity about this issue makes it likely that Lodsys will sue more Android developers if they don't pay," the blog reports.

Just another day, just another patent infringement lawsuit.

Discuss
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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    LORD_ORION , July 22, 2011 10:32 PM
    Press a button, and you are offered to buy a product.

    Seriously, this is a patent?
  • 22 Hide
    t_wilson , July 22, 2011 11:40 PM
    The U.S. patent system is a fucking joke.
  • 19 Hide
    Seikent , July 22, 2011 10:39 PM
    obsolete patents should be revoked t_t
Other Comments
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , July 22, 2011 10:18 PM
    it'd be nice if i knew where to go look for screenshots or pictures so i could figure out what all this mess is really about lol
  • 23 Hide
    LORD_ORION , July 22, 2011 10:32 PM
    Press a button, and you are offered to buy a product.

    Seriously, this is a patent?
  • 19 Hide
    Seikent , July 22, 2011 10:39 PM
    obsolete patents should be revoked t_t
  • 18 Hide
    Darkerson , July 22, 2011 11:00 PM
    As much as I cant stand Rovio, I cant stand patent trolls even more, especially when they themselves dont even have their own product. Hopefully they end up getting their asses handed to them in court...
  • 14 Hide
    walter87 , July 22, 2011 11:09 PM
    Its it just me, or do these lawsuits only happen after they become a massive success?
  • 14 Hide
    mortsmi7 , July 22, 2011 11:10 PM
    I guess coding an update button for a phone is a bit more special than it is for a PC.
  • 3 Hide
    mortsmi7 , July 22, 2011 11:16 PM
    err, upgrade...

    I'm sure someone else has a more generalized version of the same patent that could put Lodsys in their place.
  • 10 Hide
    Camikazi , July 22, 2011 11:27 PM
    walter87Its it just me, or do these lawsuits only happen after they become a massive success?

    Well yea, you can't squeeze money out of poor companies now can you?
  • 4 Hide
    mrmike_49 , July 22, 2011 11:29 PM
    mortsmi7err, upgrade...I'm sure someone else has a more generalized version of the same patent that could put Lodsys in their place.


    yeah, maybe Apple - they did invent everything
  • 22 Hide
    t_wilson , July 22, 2011 11:40 PM
    The U.S. patent system is a fucking joke.
  • 12 Hide
    jryan388 , July 22, 2011 11:58 PM
    Ever played the flash game "Upgrade Complete"? Imagine if every button in that game was infringing on this patent... lol...
  • 6 Hide
    mortsmi7 , July 23, 2011 12:00 AM
    I hope IBM gets their patent on "the process of using a computer to make money from a patent portfolio". I wonder how many trolls would disappear.
  • 12 Hide
    idono , July 23, 2011 12:55 AM
    The hell!! patent No. 7222078 describes a freaking abstract and verry broad way of gathering information at a centralized location between devices.

    This is getting out of hand. The US is not just intentionally crashing the economy but they are completly flooding the NA patent systems with useless patents that halts innovation. I say the US should be cutof from any kind of internationall buisness.
  • 16 Hide
    Anonymous , July 23, 2011 1:24 AM
    I just patented buttons that allow users to submit their comments.

    Pay Up Suckers.
  • 4 Hide
    sykozis , July 23, 2011 1:28 AM
    mortsmi7err, upgrade...I'm sure someone else has a more generalized version of the same patent that could put Lodsys in their place.

    I'm sure Rambus or Apple has it somewhere in the folder of patents they've purchased or stolen....they just haven't found it yet...
  • -1 Hide
    alidan , July 23, 2011 1:56 AM
    walter87Its it just me, or do these lawsuits only happen after they become a massive success?

    well, think of it this way. you are a company with lets say, a patent on the upgrade button. are you going to scoure the internet for every instance of this patent infringement? no you have better s*** to do. but once it becomes well known it may hit your radar. im not defending them, im just telling you how it probably goes.
  • 2 Hide
    alidan , July 23, 2011 1:59 AM
    mortsmi7err, upgrade...I'm sure someone else has a more generalized version of the same patent that could put Lodsys in their place.


    i do, its patent 1234234456343563 and it describes a place on the screen that you click with finger/pen/cursor/mouse/joystic/d**k/or nipple, and it make a noise/turns a color/ animates/ or stays the same, but in all cases, something happens.

    im sueing everyone on the planet, for 10 cents per implantation and per product, so if you have it in your game or application 100 times you owe me 10$ per every copy sold.

    and im sueing for past products too.
  • 3 Hide
    cloakster , July 23, 2011 2:36 AM
    WTF, this is just ridiculous.
  • 3 Hide
    Blessedman , July 23, 2011 2:40 AM
    Trolls like this are stifling game development for a developing platform. This is a shame and I hope a judge invalidates their claims and patent. Then I hope the owners of this company's children grow up and can't read.
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