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For months, tech junkies have been abuzz over efforts by the patent holding company Lodsys LLC to force Apple and Google app makers to enter into licensing agreements covering patents Lodsys acquired from IntellectualVentures. Despite assurances from Apple that it already had a licensing agreement with Lodsys that would protect app developers, Lodsys last week sued a group of iPhone app developers for allegedly infringing its patents. The developers gained an ally in beating back those infringement claims on Tuesday, when web analytics company Foresee Results Inc. and its lawyers at McDermott, Will & Emery sued Lodsys in Chicago federal district court for declaratory judgment that Lodsys’s patents are invalid and not infringed by Foresee’s products. Foresee counsel Michael Shanahan of McDermott told us Wednesday that Foresee hadn’t been threatened directly by Lodsys. But Lodsys had sent letters to Foresee’s clients accusing them of infringement, he said. Attached to the Tuesday’s complaint are nearly identical letters from Lodsys CEO Mark Small to Foresee clients Adidas AG, Best Buy Co., Inc., and WE Energies seeking licensing agreements premised on the companies’ alleged infringement. “Foresee believes these allegations are without merit,” Shannon said. In the letters, Lodsys said it has already entered into licensing agreements with Adobe, American Express, eBay Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft and Sony, among others. Companies that haven’t signed started getting served with infringement complaints in February, when Lodsys sued 10 companies, including Hewlett-Packard Company, Hulu, and Samsung. Those three defendants, represented by DLA Piper, Perkins Coie, and Covington & Burling, respectively, have each countered that the Lodsys patents are invalid. Lodsys claims in the Marshall, Tx., federal district court suit it filed last week against iPhone app developers that it was responding to a May 23 letter to Lodsys from Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell claiming that Apple’s license with the company protected its third party app developers. Lodsys filed the suit “in response to Apple’s threat, in order to preserve its legal options,” Lodsys said in a March 31 post on the company’s blog. Lodsys acquired the patents at issue from Intellectual Ventures; the patents cover inventions by computer scientist Dan Abelow, who sold his portfolio to IV in 2004, according to Lodsys’s blog. IV in turn sold them to Lodsys, which claims to be based in Marshall. Lodsys is represented in its various litigation and licensing efforts by Kelley, Donion, Gill, Huck & Goldfarb in Seattle and The Davis Firm in Longview, Texas. According to Lodsys CEO Small’s LinkedIn page, he is a Chicago resident who served as vice president of sales at Websense, Inc. until leaving in July. His resume also includes stints at Oracle and McAfee Inc. Neither Small nor his lawyers responded to requests for comment.

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