Wolfram latest to seek protection from Lodsys

Wolfram Alpha asked a Wisconsin court to rule that it doesn't infringe Lodsys patents

Wolfram Alpha on Tuesday became the latest company to ask a court to protect it from a lawsuit from Lodsys, the company that has been suing mobile application developers.

Lodsys, which owns technology patents related to in-app purchases, asked Wolfram in a letter to license the technology for use in its iPad app, Wolfram said in a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Lodsys alleges that Wolfram infringes six of its patents.

Since it expects to soon become the target of a patent-infringement lawsuit, Wolfram asked the court to rule preemptively that it does not infringe Lodsys' patents.

Wolfram's court filing is the eighth such request from a company seeking protection from Lodsys, according to Florian Mueller, a patent expert following the case.

Lodsys has sent letters to a number of mobile app developers, large and small, asking them to license its technology. When they don't, Lodsys has filed patent-infringement lawsuits against them. The activity has alarmed developers, particularly independent ones who are not able to pay a licensing fee or afford to defend themselves in a lawsuit.

Some developers may be hoping to buy time until Apple can help them. On Monday, Apple filed additional arguments supporting an earlier request to intervene in a suit Lodsys brought against seven app developers in Texas. Apple licenses the technologies from Lodsys, and argues that its licenses also protect other app developers. Apple hopes to defend the developers in court, but Lodsys has argued that it shouldn't be allowed to.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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