In doing what I can to try and navigate the waters that have become a bit murkier over the last 72 hours, I've landed upon what I see as the only real workable solution, and you're not gonna like it.
- Lodsys owns a patent (lets forget for a moment the moral implications of that, let's just take it as fact)
- Lodsys wants to license it to indie devs
- An indie dev entering into such and agreement is probably not smart, we'd be paying a 3rd party to license software from a different 3rd party
- What happens if Apple removes features?
- What happens if Apple adds features?
- What happens if Apple changes the system completely?
- What happens if Lodsys decides to change the terms?
- And on top of that, Indie devs are probably forbidden from entering into such an agreement by the iOS dev agreement.
So what's the workable solution? For Apple to buy Lodsys.
Of course! Apple has tons of cash! In the grand scheme, it'd be like a parking ticket to them and then the iOS ecosystem can move on, unhindered into the world of glorious In App Purchasing. And then Apple can turn around and go after the Android devs for the same license fee.
Apple would go from shining knight on a white horse to hated black sheep in the blink of an eye. People have been (rightfully) pointing out that Apple has a pretty extensive patent portfolio themselves and especially given how contentious they've been regarding the App Store trademark, we'd be crazy to assume they would buy up the patent just to sit on it.
So I guess we're back to square one. Which is of course the best solution -
Throw out software patents. Or, at the very least, require a company asserting a patent right to be actively engaged in producing something, ANYTHING, pertaining to the patent they claim.