Angry Birds maker sued over patent infringement

Category: WTO Sub-category: Intellectual Property
Document type: news

25-Jul-2011 | 17:06 IST | Edited by: Vishal Bagaria

Patent infringement issue hits Angry birds developer Rovio, who has been sued by Lodsys against eleven defendants. Rovio has been accused of infringing a minimum of one of Lodsys' patents with Angry Birds for Apple's iOS and Google's Android OS.

Angry BirdsOriginally filed by patent licensing firm Lodsys at the end of May 2011, the patent was recently amended to remove Vietnamese company Wulven Games from it. Instead, five highly-popular and lucrative game companies were added including Rovio, Electronic Arts, Atari, Square Enix and Take-Two Interactive.

The lawsuit reads as follows:

"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 ... 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."

The other developers covered in the lawsuit include 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 mentions a total of eleven defendants including Combay Inc., Iconfactory Inc., Illusion Labs, Michael G. Karr (Shovelmate), Quickoffice and Richard Shinderman.

In May 2011, Lodsys filed 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.

According to MacRumors reports, the patent in question was filed back in December 2003, continuing the earlier patent applications of 1992. Originally owned by Dan Abelow, the patent was sold along with his "extensive portfolio of patents" to Lodsys in 2004.

Apple stated that its license to the Lodsys patents included its third-part developers, providing them complete and undoutable freedom to use the covered inventions without paying royalties or fearing lawsuits. However, Lodsys has disagreed stating that Apple's claim of infallibility "has no discernible basis in law or fact."

Furthermore, it was evident that Android developers were not immune to the Lodsys' legal stunt. 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 reveals that Lodsys will sue more Android developers if they don't pay.

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Angry Birds is a puzzle video game developed by Finland-based Rovio Mobile. Inspired primarily by a sketch of stylized wingless birds, the game was first released for Apple's iOS in December 2009. Since that time, over 12 million copies of the game have been purchased from Apple's App Store, which has prompted the company to design versions for other touchscreen-based smartphones, such as those using the Android operating system, among others. Since launching Angry Birds on the Android platform, over 10,000,000+ copies of the game have been installed.

 USPTO - 35 U.S.C. 271 Infringement of Patent - Patent Laws - Official Website