The Finnish company, Rovio, who developed the game Angry Birds is being sued by a US Patents Firm for violation of patent rules. Lodsys has claimed that the Finnish company violated its patents, what is this patent? The method of which Angry Birds uses to purchase new levels.
Lodsys is notorious for being a patent troll, having sued Canon, HP, Motorola, and Lexmark among other companies for violating what is clearly an extremely broad series of patents that cover very simplistic things neccessary in the modern digital world. They do not use their patents for any purpose outside of suing those that “infringe” on it. Best Buy was also sued in the past for sending out online-based surveys.
Because of how US patent law works, you are able to patent a software implementation of an idea, which is completely different from the laws in Europe. which basically means you cannot patent something you have not physically created.
Lodsys’ actions have resulted in numerous European developers to simply not do business with the US, effectively cutting out a market of several million people simply because of one private group snatching up very simplistic things. For better or worse, there are no protections in patent law that prevent this kind of action. If a law is ever passed at any point in the future that prohibits companies from making patents on things they have no intention of using, I can see Lodsys getting their patents nicked by someone else and slammed with several lawsuits in retaliation just because. Why such simplistic and mundane things that have been used commonly for several years are allowed to be patented is one of the biggest beefs I have with how US law works.