Apple has been granted permission to intervene in a lawsuit that Lodsys, a non-practicing entity, has instigated. The lawsuit is being filed against various app developers, where Apple has now been granted a motion to intervene in the case.
Lodsys began to send letters of a threatening nature to numerous iOS developers, claiming that their apps - that used in-app purchasing - was violating a patent that Lodsys gained from Intellectual Ventures. The patent is entitled "Methods and systems for gathering information from units of a commodity across a network". Apple has a licence to this patent and claims that there is no infringement, on the behalf of the developers. This is due to a concept called patent exhaustion, in which app developers would also be covered, by Apple's licence.
Apple desired to intervene in the case as "none of the [current] defendants have the technical information, expertise, and knowledge regarding how Apple's technology works or the negotiation and intent of the License itself to fully articulate and develop Apple's exhaustion defence", according to the company's supporting brief.
Apple's intervention is limited however, as it is "permitted to intervene in this suit, but such intervention is limited to the issues of patent exhaustion and licensing," as ruled by Judge Rodney Gilstrap.
Source: Ars Technica