App Developer Gives In To Lodsys In David-And-Goliath Patent Fight

A college sophomore sued by a shell company that’s in the business of patent litigation has folded his cards, saying he can’t afford to hold out any longer for Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) to come to the rescue of its developers.

Michael Karr, the maker of a popular (and rather dirty) app called 69 Positions, says he agreed to license a patent related to the commonplace process that lets people make purchases within an app. Karr said he cannot discuss the terms of the license but the patent owner’s demand letters typically ask for 2.5% of revenues.

The patent is owned by Lodsys, a shell company that does not make or produce anything but instead makes a business of obtaining old patents and filing lawsuits. Lodsys became a lightning rod for critics after it filed a high-profile lawsuit against app makers, which are typically small companies of one or two people without the resources to fight a patent case.

The litigation also brought calls for Apple and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) (whose Android developers have also been targeted by Lodsys) to provide legal support for their developers. Apple says it has a license for the patent that should extend to its developers and filed to intervene in the case. Google has started a separate proceeding to try and invalidate the patent. But the process has been slow moving, leaving an unwelcome uncertainty hanging over the developers

“As an independent developer in my sophomore year at college, I simply didn’t have the funds to continue on with the lawsuit. I had hopes that Apple would have been able to intervene by now and potentially even offer some sort of blanket coverage for the small developers, but this has not been the case. I believe I made the best possible decision I could bearing the circumstances,” wrote Karr, in an email to paidContent.

A court filing shows that Lodsys and Karr have agreed to dismiss the case. Lodsys’ lawyer, Chris Huck, said he could not comment on the case.