Uniloc USA Inc, and Uniloc Luxembourg S.A. have today filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of Texas against Minecraft maker Mojang, asserting patent infringement of US Patent 6857067.
The patent in question essentially appears to cover just about all forms of DRM and targets Minecraft on Android devices, as these devices call home to see if they’re authorised to run, and that’s a big no-no according to this patent.
A full copy of the complaint is here, where you can see that the filing erroneously calls the allegedly-infringing product “Mindcraft” instead of “Minecraft.”
The fact that they cannot even get the name of the software they’re suing over right doesn’t speak highly of a professional approach in my opinion.
Markus “Notch” Persson tweeted, “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. … Software patents are plain evil. Innovation within software is basically free, and it’s growing incredibly [rapidly]. Patents only slow it down.”
5 thoughts on “Minecraft maker, Mojang, sued for patent infringement by plaintiff who can’t spell “Minecraft””
I see this was filed in 2000. If they can’t find prior art for what this patent describes I’ll be immensely surprised. Just a few minutes of googling reveals US Patent 5,490,216, which is pretty damn similar and was filed back in 1993. I even seem to vaguely recall software that phoned home to ensure software was authorized back in my BBS days.
The window for prior art is already shut on this one. The patent has already stood up in court (and on appeal), and has become precedent.
I tweeted the link to a Mindcraft Pvt Ltd. The thing is, when I Google’d Mindcraft it showed me the results for Minecraft. I had to specifically tell it to search for Mindcraft. So, could it be that Uniloc’s copyright trolls were actually searching for Mindcraft and went with Google’s default results, leading them to assume that Mojang AB was the owner?
They can presumably demand Google hands over a list of everyone using their licensing service then…
Unless Minecraft starts using a smart card for licensing, this will disappear quickly.
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