Developers facing patent litigation brought by "patent troll" Lodsys have requested a Texas court to allow Apple to intervene in the case.
In a court filing, the developers say Apple's involvement in the case is "critical" in their bid to have Lodsys' patent suit thrown out of court.
Apple filed a motion to intervene in the case – in which Lodsys accuses several app developers of infringing on patents covering how companies interact with consumers, including online help and in-app purchasing – in June. Apple argues that, as it has licensed the patents from Lodsys itself, that its App Store developers are also bound by that licence.
Since then, Lodsys has widened the scope of its suit, naming much bigger firms – including EA, Rovio, Square Enix and Atari – and argued that they have the means to defend themselves without Apple's intervention. Apple, however, disagrees.
According to Foss Patents, Apple argues: "Although some of the new defendants may have greater resources than the original defendants… none of the defendants have the technical information, expertise, and knowledge regarding how Apple's technology works."
Apple also contends that Lodsys' actions are harming its business. It claims that the Texan patent holder has continued to "threaten dozens of other [developers], and a boycott of some of Apple's core products by App developers has been proposed."
In their court filing, the affected developers say: "The participation of Apple in this lawsuit is critical to the development of the very evidence needed to establish what may prove to be a complete defence to the infringement claims in this action."
Lodsys' initial court filing accused seven small developers of mobile apps, but has since dropped Hanoi-based Wulven Games from the suit. Rovio is accused of infringing Lodsys-owned patents with Angry Birds, EA with The Sims 3, Square Enix with Big Hit Baseball, Take-Two with NHL2K11, and Atari with Atari's Greatest Hits.