Yes, this is so messed up that it has to go into the WTF? file and be added to the Rant list.  What a clue that the current patent system is woefully behind the times and relies on an approval system designed by 5th graders?  Have a look at this story from PCMag.com.  Seems that a company that reportedly only have patents, has a patent that ‘allegedly relates to in-application purchases, and appears to cover the action whereby one uses an “upgrade” button to jump from a lite or free version of an application to a paid-for version.’   Nice, so you are telling me that providing the ability to upgrade an app is something that needs to be protected under a patent.

So a number of iOS development shoppes have been graced with the reception of 100 page documents basically threatening to sue if they do not work out some sort of license agreement with this company in 21 days!  And here I thought blackmail was illegal.  But wait!  It gets better…

Seems that as a developer, you cannot agree to such a contract because  the Apple agreement (which as we all know is pretty restricive) because ‘to do so, according to the iOS developer agreement, could in some way “[affect] Apple’s rights or [bind] Apple in any way.” ‘    Wow..

Basically there is nothing the iOS dev’s can do but simply forward the complaints to Apple.  Now, keep in mind, this Patent will apply to ALL platforms.  That means Android, Windows, WebOS etc…  So I have a feeling this little trolling firm is going to feel some real heat really soon from the major palyers.  But that is just the symptom.  The fact these stupid ‘obvious’ patents are still out there is the disease.  I’m not foolish enough to think anything in our patent system is going to change after this, but if ONE thing comes out of this, there HAS to be a way to deal with outdated patents that protect ‘obvious’ use as society’s use of technology and adoption continue to evolve and mature at an ever expanding rate.

No word from Apple or anyone else yet, but you know those of use in the development world are going to be watching this.

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