Minecraft studio target of patent infringement lawsuit

Mojang sued by tech firm Uniloc for allegedly infringing on mobile antipiracy system used in Android version of game.

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Minecraft developer Mojang is the target of another lawsuit, this time not for a name but for something almost as fundamental. The Swedish independent studio is being sued by technology firm Uniloc for allegedly infringing on Uniloc's patent for a mobile licensing system with Minecraft: Pocket Edition for Android. The suit, which Mojang founder Markus "Notch" Persson published online, centers on the alleged patent-infringing system Minecraft uses to "require communication with a server to perform a license check to prevent the unauthorized use of said application, including, but not limited to, Mindcraft [sic]."

The mine is in your mind.

The patent in question, "System and method for preventing unauthorized access to electronic data" (No. 6,857,067), was also the center of a suit Uniloc filed against Electronic Arts, which the parties eventually settled out of court. The patent describes a system in which a portable device must access a remote license storing system in order to validate its legal ownership and be activated for use. "Uniloc believes in strong patent protection for its ideas and in the aggressive defense of our intellectual property," the company's website states.

Persson gave a caustic response to the claims on his personal blog. He said the trouble with software patents is they are grounds for lawsuits even if the infringer came up with the idea independently. "Trivial patents, such as for software, are counterproductive," he said. "If you own a software patent, you should feel bad." He previously stated on his Twitter account that "if needed, I will throw piles of money at making sure they don't get a cent."

Former Uniloc CEO Ric Richardson took to his own blog to respond to outcry he said he received from many of Persson's supporters. Richardson said he is now only a non-majority shareholder in the company, and the disputed patent is not his.

Richardson went on to defend the company's position, saying, "Having a great technology without a patent is like having a Lamborghini and leaving the keys in it." He advised Mojang to take any issues it has with the phrasing of the individual patent up with the Patent Office. "The people complaining about the lawsuits here are complaining that a company is trying to protect its own right to make a living from a technology that the patent office has verified as unique and novel," he said.

Discussion

0 comments
nurse_tsunami
nurse_tsunami

They couldn't even spell the game's name properly in the complaint.  Just goes to show, if you are successful and innovative, someone will try and sue you for it.

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

everything in life should be open sourced anyways.

rarson
rarson

Patents and copyrights are all-around counterproductive. They stifle innovation. It can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000+ to file a patent... just to FILE it. So unless the inventor is rich, they're not likely able to actually patent their invention. Some company will come along and patent it themselves and then sue the inventor if they actually use their own idea.

 

That is, if the idea was ever even "owned" by the inventor in the first place. Most engineers who work for companies inventing things don't own any of their own inventions, the company does, even if they invented them on their own outside of work.

 

The worst part about patents is they've created an industry for patent trolls. So now, rather than producing anything of value, a moderately wealthy company can buy up some patents and sit on them until someone else actually DOES produce something of value, at which point the patent troll company ruins things for everyone and prevents consumers from being able to buy the stuff that they want to buy.

 

The idea that any person or entity can "own" an idea is absurd, and it's even more absurd to think that a person who comes up with the same idea entirely on their own is not entitled to use it.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

Maybe these patent laws can be changed soon... because this is absurd. I heard one day soon Twitter will be sued for:  "a service that posts users text to a server to be read remotely."

DaSlyOne
DaSlyOne

Just filed a patent for a systematic way of depositing urine into a urinal by standing in front of said urinal and unzipping your pants.  Can't wait for the money this is going to make me! 

Cruisemissile
Cruisemissile

These guys are parasites! their sueing 75 other companies right now that's including Mojang it seems their what you call a patent troll and their word should carry no weight in the courts because of this.

thedemon44
thedemon44

OMG they have made a lot of money! Let's sue!

Tanatheus
Tanatheus

I guess everyone comes out the woodwork to grab  a piece when someone makes something successful. 

 

The qoute "kill all the lawyers" comes to mind

Shawn45
Shawn45

These patents really suck.

hadlee73
hadlee73

I'm glad no one has a patent for having a big nose.

GunnyHath
GunnyHath

They also filed against a host of other companies, but interestingly those don't make headlines.  Uniloc has been suing people for years, and hasn't had a useful idea since the 90s.  They make their living suing people with good ideas, it almost seems.

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

I guess Uniloc don't realise that Notch has a huge army of morons ready to catapult their bodies against any corporation going against minecraft. Bethesda might never recover.

SanatKumara
SanatKumara

i'll patent my idea, basically, the idea behind is: If a person male or female needs to throw internal liquids, she or he should use his/her organs onto a toilet.I call this mechanical-approach-to-pee  and now you all are sued for infringement of my intellectual patent.

Dav_id83
Dav_id83

Let me get this straight they now sue when MineCraft have been out how long............

bradrame
bradrame

This got boring after the first paragraph... Due to my inability to care for the suers of America

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

Protecting themselves, rofl, if they came up with the idea they wouldn't just have the patent for mobile devices now would they? Since just about every expensive piece of software for PC's "connects to a server to check the license" it's clear they've just copied that...

Sooo, who has the patent for using mobile devices as missiles, to be thrown at (but not limited to) idiots trying to make money out of stupid patents!

Zaalin
Zaalin

Patents are one of the greatest example of why lawyers suck. Manipulating the law so that companies who already make money off the fruits of their R&D can make additional money off the R&D itself... It really is pathetic. It's borderline anti-capitalist as it prevents competition arbitrarily, drives prices higher for consumers by causing psuedo monoplies, and actually stifles innovation. Even worse, it uses "promoting innovation" as its main selling point!

 

Lawyers have done some crazy things to this world. 

MarcusVOG
MarcusVOG

On other news, Microsoft sues Apple because COMPUTERS!

drybones41
drybones41

For anyone who doesn't know Uniloc made a typo on the lawsuit. Instead of Minecraft it said "Mindcraft"...idiots. Makes a lawsuit and manages to make a mistake which is easily noticable.

 

You can look at the lawsuit pdf on the minecraftforums...

SKaREO
SKaREO

Good thing no one has patented the ability to breathe yet!

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

I don't get it. They have a patent on a code that does something mildly similar, which any idiot could have invented?

Frosty192
Frosty192

Patents for technology etc, fine. Patents for "Lets get ready to Ruummmble! pathetic it is a god damn phrase. This country is stupid.

Sw1tched
Sw1tched

I hate stupid ass world with it's patents and greedy MF'ers. This is so stupid

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

 @Tanatheus 

I guess all you fanboys come out of the woodwork to defend Notch even if he has been stealing other peoples hard work(allegedly).

DaSlyOne
DaSlyOne

 @GunnyHath Yep, it's an easy way of making money, without ever having to produce a single thing.  Basically, Uniloc has been allowed to patent common sense and it's making them rich.

Krinnium
Krinnium

 @GunnyHath what a useless and counterproductive company. as Persson said, they should feel bad. 

Crimson_Erskine
Crimson_Erskine

 @SanatKumara People who don't know patent law suck at making jokes trying to attack patents. So you should probably stop. Its embarrassing. 

Crimson_Erskine
Crimson_Erskine

 @Dav_id83 Do you know a single thing about law? Do you know just how long it takes to build a case? They also may not have known they were using their patent, illegal things are typically hidden you know.

thedemon44
thedemon44

 @Dav_id83 It helps to let your victim make a lot of money, then you know how much to try grubbing from them.

ZakMcKracken
ZakMcKracken

 @JimmeyBurrows Indeed, legally a patent should have a 'new industrial applicability'. Copying existing software and apply it to another platform is not 'new' imo. Patent offices have lost all their credibility in this...

Crimson_Erskine
Crimson_Erskine

 @Zaalin You're right, if you invent something you damn well not make money off of it! God the nerve of people to want to be given credit where it's due! Sheesh. But honestly it takes a fraction of what this whole mess will cost to pay to use someone's patent. People are just stupid. And companies, no matter how much people love them and get butthurt when they see they are in trouble with the law, are greedy.

Crimson_Erskine
Crimson_Erskine

 @MarcusVOG So dumb... I don't even know where to start when you honestly have no concept of the law or Microsoft or Apple and why your statement makes horribly no sense. 

ragnarok160
ragnarok160

 @drybones41 perhaps this is evidence that these people don't know what there talking about if they got the name itself wrong, itll be funny in court when the judge says" ok so ur sueing mojang for licensing patent violation for a game he created called mindcraft?

mojang says" but jugde i never made a game called mindcraft just minecraft"

forcefactor13
forcefactor13

 @SKaREO Did you know that certain sections of the human genome are PATENTED? Crazy world we live in...

Crimson_Erskine
Crimson_Erskine

 @Sw1tched Waaaah the real world scares me! I would love for you to invent something and then someone just outright steals your invention and gets filthy rich off of it and watch you not piss and moan about it and probably lawyer up.

Tanatheus
Tanatheus

 @NeilCardiff Im not really a fanboy, man.. I dont even play minecraft. Im just saying that the laws that are ment to protect are more than often used a sword

Tanatheus
Tanatheus

 @Lazerith91 You can't deny that the minecraft fans are rather rabid though who will instantly attack you if you happen to speak ill of the game.

SanatKumara
SanatKumara

 @Crimson_Erskine  People who doesn't understand jokes shouldn't reply other user messages, and it's irony.. The problem being talked here is serious, you shouldn't be able to patent a word, or an abstract idea.. if Mojand would used a proprietary library of some kind, i would totally understand those guys.. but the concept of patent over a major abstract idea is idiotic.. as you my friend 

Tanatheus
Tanatheus

 @Cruisemissile Not really saying that every fan does it, but I guess it's a matter about the rather vocal minority again.

Cruisemissile
Cruisemissile

 @Tanatheus Not everyone who likes minecraft will attack anyone who doesn't like the game, I like it but I won't outright attack anyone expressing their own opinion on a game.

mled
mled

 @Krinnium  I did what I could with it. ragnarok160 said that everyone was stupid except for him, so I changed his phrase using a single comma to say that he was the stupid one, and then I'm called a troll. Ironic.

Krinnium
Krinnium

 @mled actually i don't think that's correct in that context. the initial subject matter is hard to work with though. consider,  'everyone but myself is dumb'. it wouldn't be 'everyone, but myself is dumb'. 

mled
mled

...your right :p

mled
mled

Spell check isn't reliable.

 

And you can't troll a troll.

Mifflinite45
Mifflinite45

 @boowwe13

 Hilarious post although you can't rule out that mriom could have possibly made a mistake while typing, and mistake-making does not imply stupidity. Otherwise everyone in the world would technically be considered stupid.

ragnarok160
ragnarok160

 @mled Fixed: "People trying to troll through grammar is stupid" everything has spell check these days