Uniloc, a Luxembourg-based company “in the business of finding big ideas,” has launched a patent infringement case against Mojang for the use of anti-piracy measures in the Android version of Minecraft.
Marcus ‘Notch’ Persson announced Uniloc’s intention to launch legal action against Mojang in an irreverent tweet on Saturday: ”Step 1: Wake up. Step 2: Check email. Step 3: See we’re being sued for patent infringement. Step 4: Smile.” He later posted the documents he received.
Uniloc alleges that its patent on a “system and method for preventing unauthorized access to electronic data” is being infringed on by Mojang in the Android version of Minecraft. Well, to put it in Uniloc’s own words, Mojang are infringing ”by or through making, using, offering for sale, selling and/or importing Android based applications for use on cellular phones and/or tablet devices that require communication with a server to perform a license check to prevent the unauthorized use of said application, including, but not limited to, Mindcraft.”
Yes, Mindcraft. Amusing.
Uniloc have quite the history of patent litigation, leading many to label the company as a ‘patent troll’, a company that hordes intentionally vague patents, and aggressively pursues those who might infringe upon them. Uniloc explains on its website that it will “defend our patents aggressively whenever they are infringed. This protects our business and our shareholder value. In our view, it’s the right thing to do.”
Most of Uniloc’s cases are settled outside of court and through due process because of the expensive nature of litigation. Uniloc might have a fight on their hands in this case, however, as Notch has promised to fight the case.
“Unfortunately for them, they’re suing us over a software patent,” Notch tweeted. “If needed, I will throw piles of money making they don’t get a cent.”
Notch later took to his personal blog, The Word of Notch, to explain his stance on patents.
“Trivial patents, such as for software, are counterproductive (they slown down technical advancement), evil (they sacrifice baby goats to baal), and costly (companies get tied up in pointless lawsuits),” he said.
“If you own a software patent, you should feel bad.”