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Uniloc files patent infringement suit against Mojang

Saturday, 21st July 2012 20:07 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Uniloc has filed a patent infringement suit against Mojang for Minecraft, in which the firm claims the Android version of Mindcraft (sic) uses claim 107 of patent #6,857,067 without its expressed permission.

The patent description is for a: “system and method for preventing unauthorized access to electronic data [covering] executable computer code on an electronic device to prevent unauthorized access to electronic data stored on the electronic device.”

Notch, who brought this to the internet’s attention via Twitter, said the firm is suing Mojang over a “software patent,” to which he will “throw piles of money at making sure they don’t get a cent.”

“Software patents are plain evil. Innovation within software is basically free, and it’s growing incredibly rapid. Patents only slow it down,” he said.

Uniloc’s filing asks for damages which include pre and post-judgment interest, and ongoing royalties on top of it.

Mojang isn’t the only firm Uniloc is suing. According to a list complied on Reddit, the firm is also suing Halfbrick (Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride), Gameloft, Square Enix, Laminar Research (X-Plane) and Electronic Arts.

Last year, the firm filed a suit against Activision, ASPYR, McAfee, Quark, and Sony for violating claim 216 of patent #5,490,216, “System for Software Registration.”

The firm also took Microsoft to court in 2003 over claims the software giant infringed on its patent for a software activation key which keep users from installing licensed software on more than one computer.

After six years and numerous courtrooms across the states, a $388 million judgment against Microsoft was handed down in 2009; however, a Rhode Island judge overturned the verdict later that year, after evidence presented during an appeal showed Microsoft did not infringe on Uniloc’s patent.

Thanks: Joystiq, GamePolitics, Reddit.

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8 Comments

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  1. silkvg247

    So they make a living by suing people who have some money?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Stephany Nunneley

    Basically. And in Texas, where they can get away with trolling easier.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Cobra951

    @1, welcome to the age of patent trolls, businesses which derive their revenue from suing people for violating patents that never should have been issued in the first place. Most of these ridiculous patents make no more sense than charging carpenters a royalty for driving nails into wood with a hammer.

    Software patents are indeed evil, and never should have happened to begin with. I’m rooting for Notch on this one. Here’s a suggestion, Mr Persson: patent every software process you can think of, then release the patent into the public domain. The more, the better.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. shogoz

    Maybe it could be for the same reason that all Americans think that Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone when it was in fact an Italian inventor by the name of Antonio Meucci but died halfway through suing Alex for stealing his idea. Americans are renown for stealing everybody elses ideas and marketing products as their own. Every American also feels good thinking that the Wright bros invented the plane too when they weren’t the first either. I guess this is why their movies are famous :) American’s sure do have an active imagination.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Dragon246

    If you have genuinely developed a new software and tech , then you deserve the royalities. But patent trolls like this shiity company deserve to be taught a lesson. Unfortunately many big cos just hate legal troubles and give them what small money they want. This just shows how much of a jackass the patent office is.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Froseidon

    I don’t normally like Notch but in this case, I am with him about the patents. They are slowing down the advancement of software. That being said, companies should always have the right to protect their own intellectual property.

    Reading this, however, makes me question Uniloc. They seem to be taking people to court for the hell of it, just because they want more money. I feel that the patents have to be less restrictive but still protect the rights of those that hold them, except in this case where they are blatantly abusing their power (and failing).

    I mean please, Microsoft could probably hire some of the best lawyers around, its not like they’re going to be easy to file a suit against. Notch has a lot of money, therefore, he could probably afford the same sort or lawyers. Uniloc, even though I have never heard of them ’til today, seem like one of the more idiotic and downright rotten companies.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. viralshag

    What absolute scum.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. DSB

    To be fair, most major corporations are doing this too. Especially in the technology sectors.

    Apple have haid great success sueing competing products off the market, based on widereaching patents that would never have been accepted for record 10-15 years ago.

    Ultimately, as long as you allow scum (whether it’s Uniloc, Apple or anyone else) to exploit a failure in regulation for profit, they’re going to do it. People should be blaming the politicians who enable those guys to do it, and actually have the means to stop it.

    All frivolous patents do is make the big businesses richer, the startups poorer, and the entire world dumber and slower to progress, because improving on other peoples ideas suddenly becomes illegal.

    #8 2 years ago