The creator of the top-downloaded game, Angry Birds, is being sued by licensing company Lodsys for infringing its patents.
Lodsys is a non-practicing entity (NPE), which means that the company licenses patents but does not have any other business. Lodsys is also involved in patent suits against eleven other companies that include Apple, Electronic Arts, Atari, and Square-Enix on grounds of infringement.
Lodsys’ target on the Angry Birds patent is a large suit because the game is available on Apple’s IOS platform, which includes the iPhone and iPad, as well as on the Android operating system.
Rovio-Mobile released the video game for Apple’s iPhone in 2009, and since then, it has received 12 million downloads from Apple’s App Store. Across all three platforms, the game has been downloaded over 250 million times.
Angry Birds players use a slingshot to aim and fire cartoon birds at pigs placed around or atop structures. With the goal of destroying all the pigs in view, players use the birds to directly hit the pigs or the structures that collapse and destroy the pigs. Any unused birds result in extra points for players.
As higher levels are reached, new birds appear, often having special abilities that the player can trigger to advance further in the game, which has several versions.
The game has received accolades for its addictive quality, amusing layout, and cheap price. MIT Entrepreneurship Review said the game was “the largest mobile app success the world has seen for far.”
The Christian Science Monitor said of the game, “Angry Birds has been one of the greatest runway hits of 2010”.
Angry Birds holds the record for most days on Apple’s App Store Top paid downloads list, and was number one for 275 days, according to Yahoo news.
Lodsys’ eleven patent lawsuits do not just include small mobile-application makers and technology companies. The NPE has also targeted large retail companies and other big businesses. Sam’s Club, Best Buy, The Container Store, and Black and Decker were named by Lodsys to have violated its patents.