GPS Location Apps / Patent Infringement
I am currently creating a location similar application like
Grindr but will have a lot more GPS functionality. The application will use the GPS to allow other users to know how far you are from them. I am nearly complete with the application and I had an online attorney say that I should be worried about patent infringement. He said I could be sued for millions and by different companies if i launched a GPS location app if I don't run a patent search first. He offered his services for 400 an hour with a 10,000 retainer fee. Is this guy full of BS or do I have to get someone's permission create this type of app. I was planning on releasing the app on both the android and iOS platforms but the thought of being sued for millions have stopped me dead. I have already invested $15,000 in this app. I am trying to seek guidance from other people who have created a similar app so I know if I should keep going or if I should just throw in the towel.
This is what he said:
you have a much more difficult problem facing you than trademark law. You need to find out whether you can operate your application without violating PATENT rights held by others to GPS based applications for dating, etc. I know from painful experience in this field that there are quite a few patents that may be applicable to your application. It is absolutely essential that you retain IP counsel to conduct a patent search before launching this product. Failure to conduct an appropriate patent search could be a financial disaster for you---it can cost millions of dollars in legal fees to defend claims for patent infringement. In this situation, chances are you will need to obtain licenses from existing patent owners before you can safely launch your application. You need to work closely with intellectual property counsel to deal with these issues---if you do not protect yourself against claims for patent infringement you are being very foolish.