The future of free apps which are upgradable to paid versions is likely to be resolved in the next couple of weeks, and all thanks to US patent no. 7,222,078.
What is that patent, we hear you ask. Well, it comes from a firm called Lodsys and it seems that these guys have got the “methods and systems for gathering information from units of a commodity across a network” all sewn up.
But what does this mean for anyone who speaks normal words? Well, do you know the “upgrade” button which lets you move from a free app to the paid version? The smart cookies at Lodsys have got it patented. The upgrade button! Who would have believed it?
The first developer we are aware of who has fallen foul of patent infringement for this issue is Computer LogicX, who use an upgrade button in their Mix & Mash app. They have been sent legal warning telling them they have 3 weeks to sort out a licensing agreement, but here comes the crunch. They can’t do that.
You see, the people at Apple have to agree to developers entering in an agreement with another firm, as the operating system and payment systems all belong to Apple. It isn’t clear yet how this affair will end but it could get messy before it is sorted out, as we can’t imagine that the Apple bosses will be too happy with this situation.
Do you think it is fair that developers are being chased and threatened with legal action on this matter?