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Patents Games Your Rights Online

Patent Troll Claims Minecraft Infringement 304

Posted by timothy
from the two-varieties-of-blockhead dept.
First time accepted submitter ubrgeek writes "Popular game Minecraft has hit the big time: It's being sued for infringement by patent troll Uniloc who claims the game infringes a patent it holds on copy protection software. Developer Markus 'Notch' Persson sounds like he's up for the challenge: '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.'"
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Patent Troll Claims Minecraft Infringement

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  • I hope.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @09:46PM (#40727265)

    He pounds the troll into the ground then sues them for damages, defamation and costs.

  • by Ouchie (1386333) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @10:19PM (#40727427)
    Is it possible to use Class Action for defense?

    It seems that some of their defendants could pound them into powder single handed but some of the smaller ones like Minecraft might benefit by pooling resources.

  • Re:I hope.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Genda (560240) <(mariet) (at) (got.net)> on Saturday July 21, 2012 @11:25PM (#40727705) Journal

    I can't even begin to tell how many ways this comment is a brain fart, but here are some of the high points;

    1. Get your facts straight, the oldest U.S. patent is from 1790, but that only because of the age of the U.S. central government. The oldest patent in North America goes back to 1641 and there are Greek writings of registered disclosure of invention going back to about 500 B.C., so yes, patents have been here for a wee bit.

    2. Nobody said get rid of patents. At least in this culture, the original purpose of patents was to spur invention by protecting an inventors rights to his own creation for some fair period of time, allowing to benefit from his creativity and productivity. These laws were instrumental to the explosion of ideas and technologies that made the United States an industrial and economic force in the 19th century.

    3. Since then, the patent has been hijacked to build ever larger and higher fortifications from which to control greater bodies of IP, and the free flow of ideas and invention. Existing patent law is antithetical to its original purpose and is becoming an increasing impediment to invention, innovation and technological advance.

    4. Therefore, when extremely bright, articulate and educated people discuss the dilemmas facing society and speculate on possible solutions that address the needs and wants of corporate America vs. the needs and wants of the human race, you might want to refrain from painting everyone with the idiot brush. The only one who actually ends up looking stupid is the guy holding the brush.

    5. Microsoft paying the patent trolls with what amounts to folding money for Bill Gates, functions out of simple expedience, its easier feeding the trolls than spending ten times as much on the court costs. The trolls only ask for what they know they can get way with... think of mosquitoes.

    6. Minecraft may or may not have a superb chance of wining their case, the point here is that they will not be bullied or threatened by a blood sucking parasite, and I for one hope the troll get's it head stomp.

    I don't know if you get any of this, it may be beyond you. There is a time when the right thing transcends the easy thing, I applaud the makers of Minecraft for doing the right thing, and I would love to see permanent changes written to the body of patent law to remove the growing flood of idiot patents plaguing society.

  • Re:Damn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Riceballsan (816702) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @12:56AM (#40727979)
    It isn't just that notch has a metric ass-tonne of money, compared to most of the targets he has sued, notch is probably one of the poorest. The real reason notch can fight, is that he isn't a public company. Most publicly traded companies would rather settle and get rid of the guy, than gamble in court, pay legal fees that outweigh the costs of the settlement and still have a risk of a stupid judge thinking it is a legitimate patent.
  • Re:Minetest FTW! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jones_supa (887896) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @01:31AM (#40728115)

    A trend which I see these days in Slashdot is aggressive downmodding like here is happening with VanessaE.

    I don't know if "Minetest" is any good, but I thought it would be interesting to talk about how introducing an open source implementation would affect the patent situation.

  • by Tom (822) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @02:58AM (#40728415) Homepage Journal

    Start a project on github, I'm in.

    It really would be a worthwhile thing to have, even as a satire, to point out just how serious the problem is. And it could easily be expanded to cover politicians for whom we seem to get "agreement ratings" all the time, but never "hate metrics", which as any student of election theory knows are just as important.

  • by professionalfurryele (877225) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @04:29AM (#40728685)

    If the patent office is overworked the solution is simple. No appeals process and a bias towards rejection. Stop this bullshit of putting in multiple claims some of which are obvious, one obvious claim means no patent, one claim with prior art means no patent. Stop this bullshit of poorly worded and vague patents. If within the first 30 minutes of getting your patent it isn't clear how to implement it, automatic rejection. Force the inclusion of pseudocode for software patents (or better yet just ban them), and the inclusion of schematics for everything else, and demands that it should be clear from those schematics how to actually build the device in question. Anyone submitting a claim to an invention with documented prior art should be fined heavily for wasting the offices time. Allow the extension of prior art to softer situations, so don't simply look at academic papers and other patents (although those should be used to determine if the submitter should be fined) but include any other reasonable source of prior art (blog postings which outline similar ideas, public speculation in the media).

    Once it is clear that only geniune patents will be accepted the volume of patents submitted to the patent office will drop rapidly.

  • Re:I hope.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Talence (4962) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @05:52AM (#40728927) Homepage

    You have a very valid argument, but there's one aspect that's missing: just like with old-fashioned racketeering, it's not a one-time expense: fold to one patent troll and you'll have to fold to all.

    The SCO case was different: it was basically a Microsoft vs. Linux fight by proxy that SCO could not have funded on its own.

    This patent troll is more likely to go for the low-hanging fruit, so it seems smarter for him to not make himself an attractive target.

  • by elfstone1555 (907122) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @07:18AM (#40729121)

    No appeals process and a bias towards rejection.

    I have a friend who works in the patent office (not the software part) and he says his boss tells them to reject everything the first time then let the submitter come back and defend themselves before they make a final decisions. So I think (at least parts) of the patent office are already doing this (although maybe not the software division).

  • Re:I hope.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @06:24PM (#40732331) Homepage

    The problem is that, if a corporation does not obey the laws of the land, there is no convenient way of giving the corporation a "Time Out to think about what they have done." People are easy to train that way.

    If companies were delisted people would be unable to buy and sell shares and therefor be stuck with the bad shares. The company then has to serve time by donating all profits for the next 5 years to "The public good". Now we have a system of crime and punishment that can deal with corporations in a way that corporations can understand. Nobody loses their job as the corporation can continue operating.

    People would only invest in ethical companies on the grounds that unethical ones will not turn a profit.

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