Lodsys sues Angry Birds game manufacturer for patent infringement

More than three dozen patent infringement lawsuits have been filed by Lodsys, claiming technology companies are profiting off of the Texas patent company’s ideas. The latest lawsuit from the patent firm has targeted games-makers including Rovio, maker of Angry Birds.

Rovio’s Angry Birds has reportedly been downloaded 300 million times as a video game or as an app on Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android phones. According to the Finnish game-maker, there has been no direct communication between Lodsys and Rovio.

Rovio’s name was added to the Lodsys patent lawsuit filed in Texas, among a list that includes other games-designers like Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive and Atari. Lodsys says the app developers are infringing on its patented ideas.

Lodsys’ complaints revolve around four allegedly violated patents. Rovio and the other video and app makers are accused of infringing on technology that allows game players to pay for upgrades to new levels, including moving from a free trial game to an expanded, paid download.

Technology companies, like Lodsys, have come forward in greater numbers since the introduction and rising popularity of mobile phone applications.

Europeans app-makers are carefully watching U.S. litigation. Some foreign developers have pulled apps from the U.S. market or have not released apps in the U.S. for fear of intellectual property lawsuits.

Patent cases like this one can affect companies across the U.S., including those in California. It will be interesting to see how this case develops as well as what the courts decide if the infringement suit is taken to trial.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Patent Firm Sues Angry Birds Maker,” Ben Rooney, 22 July 2011