AppleInsider is reporting that Apple and Starbucks are being sued because of their recent iTunes promotion cards. James and Marguerite Driessen claim to hold a patent on, what they call "RPOS" (or retail point of sale for online merchandising). The patent in question allows customers to buy a gift card from brick-and-mortar stores and then go home and redeem the card online. However, Apple has an excuse, because while the Driessens' patent was under review, Apple developed their own similar concept for redeeming the iTunes gift cards.
Apple's gift cards allow a person to enter a code on the iTunes Store and receive a whole artist's album, along with the artwork. However, due to legal pressure from the Driessens, Apple apparently pulled the iTunes gift cards from the stores, but left them in UK Stores.
Now, here's where this may get a little sticky. I've been wondering why this is only affecting the Apple iTunes cards. Why aren't other gift card manufacturing companies getting hit with this suit? This patent application seems to describe pretty much every gift card that I have seen; such as those credit-card-gift-cards that you can buy at most malls -- you can also use those online as a credit card. And not to mention those Zune music cards! What do you think? Should Apple be forced to remove their cards that provide convenience to customers, or should they fight back? Be sure to sound off in the comments below!