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DRM firm Uniloc files infringement suit against Mojang's 'Mindcraft'

DRM firm Uniloc files infringement suit against Mojang's 'Mindcraft'

July 23, 2012 | By Mike Rose

July 23, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing

DRM tech firm Uniloc, which has previously clashed with such high-profile publishers as Activision Blizzard and Sony, has now set its sights on Minecraft developer Mojang, amongst a string of other publishers and developers.

The firm previously filed a patent infringement suit against Activision Blizzard and Mac game specialist Aspyr back in 2010, also naming Sony, Borland Software, McAfee and Quark in the same suit, alleging that the defendants infringed on a patented anti-piracy product activation method for software.

Now Uniloc has filed a patent infringement suit against Swedish studio Mojang, claiming that the company is infringing on its patent "System and Method for Preventing Unauthorized Access to Electronic Data." It has also filed similar suits against numerous other companies, including Electronic Arts, Square Enix, Madfinger Games, Gameloft and Halfbrick Studios.

Uniloc alleges [PDF] that Mojang has infringed on its patent by making the Android version of Minecraft -- or "Mindcraft" as the complaint calls it -- available for purchase in such a way that communication with a server to perform a license check is required.

Similar claims are being made by Uniloc against other companies -- EA, for example, is allegedly infringing the same patent with the Android release of Bejeweled 2.

The DRM firm claims that it has been damaged as a result of the infringing conduct, and that Mojang is therefore liable. It is looking for damages and costs incurred through this alleged infringement, and is pursuing ongoing royalties for the use of the patent by Mojang.

Mojang founder Markus Persson tweeted of the news, "Unfortunately for them, they're suing us over a software patent. If needed, I will throw piles of money at making sure they don't get a cent."

Persson also went on to post about software patents on his blog, noting, "Trivial patents, such as for software, are counterproductive (they slow down technical advancement), evil (they sacrifice baby goats to baal), and costly (companies get tied up in pointless lawsuits). If you own a software patent, you should feel bad."

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