Notch donates $250k to patent reform project

Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban give $250,000 each for initiative aimed at reforming software patents.


Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson has donated $250,000 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Defend Innovation" initiative aimed at protecting innovation and reforming software patents, the organization has announced. A matching contribution was also provided by billionaire entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for a total of $500,000.

The EFF did not announce a specific plan for Persson's donation. Instead, the organization said the game maker's money "cements EFF's ability to tackle the systemic problems with software patents."

"Temporary fixes aren't good enough--we need deep and meaningful reform to protect software development and keep it as free and democratic as possible," Persson said in a statement. "New games and other technological tools come from improving on old things and making them better--an iterative process that the current patent environment could shut down entirely. This is a dangerous path we're on, and I'm glad to help EFF move us in the right direction."

The organization was more specific with Cuban's donation, saying it will go towards funding the hire of a new attorney--Daniel Nazar--who is experienced in patent reform and "high-profile patent" litigation. Nazer will join the EFF in January as a Staff Attorney.

The EFF's Defend Innovation project promotes seven fixes for America's patent system. These include shortening the term for software patents, allowing victorious parties in litigation to be reimbursed for fees, and protecting inventors who "independently arrive at a patented idea."

Persson has long been outspoken regarding his disdain for software patents. In a blog entry this summer, he said software patents are counterproductive, evil, and costly, further noting that "if you own a software patent, you should feel bad."

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