When news broke earlier this week that a free port of Lemmings was coming to the iPhone, we were delighted… but we were also a little sceptical. The developer wasn’t seeking permission to produce the game from its owner because, as he stated in a forum post, “no one knows who owns it anymore – that’s why I’m doing it free.” The owner, as it turns out, is Sony. And they’re not happy with developer Mobile 1Up.

“As much as we would love to have this title reach everyone,” reads a recent post on the Mobile 1Up blog, “we have unfortunately been contacted and instructed by Sony’s intellectual property and legal department to remove our Lemmings conversion from our websites and distribution channels.”

The ceases and desist letter has been posted in its entirety by Mobile 1Up, and while it may sound harsh, Sony is at least doing the right things by refraining from suing the developer to seek damages related to the copies that have already been distributed on other platforms.

So where does this leave the future of Lemmings on the iPhone? Bleak to say the least. Sony owns Lemmings, but it also owns the PlayStation brand. Their PlayStation Portable is in direct competition with the iPhone, so it would be downright ludicrous to expect them to allow for a version of the game to appear on Apple devices.

It’s a shame too, because the Lemmings remakes that appeared on the PSP and PlayStation 3 in recent years were of an outstanding quality. Port those to Apple devices, and Lemmings would stand a good chance of rocketing to the top of the App Store sales charts.