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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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  • Not just Minecraft (Score:5, Informative)

    by ildon (413912) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @10:53PM (#40727299)

    They're also suing Square Enix, EA, and Gameloft (basically everyone). []

  • Minetest FTW! (Score:3, Informative)

    by VanessaE (970834) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @11:25PM (#40727451) Homepage

    And this, folks is why I support open source solutions whenever possible, in this case, Minetest. It is similar to Minecraft (generally based on the same idea), but 100% open source. Coded by Perttu "celeron55" Ahola For more details, visit the main website: []

    (Disclaimer: I am a mod programmer and texture pack developer for the game)

  • by Sigma 7 (266129) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @12:03AM (#40727611)

    Unreal Tournament only used CD-based copy protection, which was removed in a patch. It didn't use a licence key as described in a patent, nor did it use server-side authentication.

    It's better to say that Diablo II violated the patent. Although it didn't require contacting a server, it used this system if you wanted to play on

    And even better is Ultima Online, which was released in 1997, and was an MMORPG.

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

    by Lisias (447563) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @12:05AM (#40727619) Homepage Journal

    You see, large corporations with deep pockets are easier: all you have to do is to make sure it's cheaper for them to pay than to sue. They *always* go for the cheap solution.

    (one of them hired you, didn't? - ok, bad joke. but you asked for it!)

    Little enterprises, when facing the financial death, can choose to bite back. They're dead anyway, they can afford to try their luck on a trial. It appears that 50 on every 75 ones that are sued by Uniloc choose that path.

    Uniloc has sued 73 companies over violating its patent. 25 of those companies have settled according to Uniloc. [7]
    Uniloc sued Microsoft in 2003 for violating its patent relating to technology designed to deter software piracy. In 2006, US District Judge William Smith ruled in favour of Microsoft, but an appeals court overturned his decision, saying there was a "genuine issue of material fact" and that he should not have ruled on the case without hearing from a jury.[8] On April 8, 2009 a Rhode Island jury found Microsoft had violated the patent and told Microsoft to pay Uniloc $388 million in damages.[9] After this success, Uniloc filed new patent infringement suits against Sony America, McAfee, Activision, Quark, Borland Softward and Aspyr Media.[10]

    The decision against Microsoft was subsequently overturned on September 29, 2009 when Judge Smith "vacated" the jury's verdict and ruled in favour of Microsoft again, saying the jury "lacked a grasp of the issues before it and reached a finding without a legally sufficient basis".[11] Uniloc appealed the judge's decision, alleging bias and in 2011 the guilty verdict was reinstated against Microsoft. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said that instead of using the usual "25 per cent rule", the damage awards for infringement would need to be recalculated.[12]

    On July 20, 2012, Uniloc filed a lawsuit against Mojang, citing the Minecraft Pocket Edition, incorrectly called "Mindcraft" within the lawsuit documents, as an infringement upon patents that give Uniloc exclusive rights to license checks on Android cellular phones.[13] The same lawsuit was also filed against Electronic Arts, citing Bejewelled2 as an infringement upon their patents on Android devices.[14]

    Source []

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

    by Swampash (1131503) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @02:55AM (#40728227)

    Uniloc is basically one guy, Ric Richardson, who is the epitome of the borderline-Aspergers nerd type idolised on Slashdot. He works out of a van because an office is too distracting. [] []

    He sued Microsoft for infringing this patent, and Microsoft lost to the tune of $388 million in damages.

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

    by julesh (229690) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @04:22AM (#40728497)

    And I disagree again due the fact that I can hack any hardware I own, but I can be (theoretically) prosecuted if I do reverse engineering on a software.

    Come to the EU. We have legally-mandated rights to reverse engineer for the purpose of implementing interoperable systems.

  • by julesh (229690) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @04:32AM (#40728529)

    Is it possible to use Class Action for defense?

    Yes, or at least you can achieve something similar. It may or may not be possible in this case, but it is always worth putting an application to the judge of your case to see whether he thinks it would be beneficial. The relevant rule is this one:

    20. (2) Defendants. Persons—as well as a vessel, cargo, or other property subject to admiralty process in rem—may be joined in one action as defendants if:

    (A) any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and

    (B) any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action.

    (B) is clearly true. (A) may or may not be, depending how one interprets "series of transactions or occurrences".

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

    by TechnoCore (806385) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @05:50AM (#40728743)

    Life is not prisoner's dilemma. It's iterated prisoner's dilemma because people can actually build up reputations. It's been shown that the best stable strategy is tit-for-tat plus forgiveness.

    Do you have a reference? I would be super-thankful.

    I think he might be referring to this where Richard Dawkins explains it: []

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

    by Lisias (447563) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @06:21AM (#40728843) Homepage Journal

    Unfortunately, I found such source:

    But, just this week, Richardson was informed of the outcome of the appeal, which reinstated Microsoft's guilty verdict.

    Source []

    Special attention for the "DickMobile". :-)

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

    by PhrstBrn (751463) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @11:26AM (#40729881)

    Put your Minecraft fanboyism aside, Mojang isn't even at 100m USD in revenue yet. The guy himself may be 'hideously rich' but the company isn't some juggernaut.

    They definitely have over 100 million in revenue now. Minecraft has built 80 million in sales since March []

    The XBox 360 version came out in May, and has sold over 3 million units []. The Xbox 360 version costs $20 USD (1600 MS Points). Simple arithmetic gives me $60 million in XBLA sales. Mojang gets at least 1/3rd of that, which is enough too push them over the $100 million mark.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 22, 2012 @01:01PM (#40730403)

    What hard work? Did you even read the patent? This guy had an idea and patented it. He built no product. He did no work. He is attempting to steal the hard work of people who actually created unique inventions and products which happened to have a (what should be considered obvious) method of verification.

    Literally, the entire patent is: Take smart card (someone else's hard work), insert into smart card reader (someone else's hard work) attached to a computer (someone else's hard work) that is also attached to the internet (someone else's hard work), and communicate to server (someone else's hard work) to receive authentication (someone else's hard work) for the smart card's contents.

    There is not a single part of that that is not someone else's hard work that Uniloc is leeching off of, and you have the gall to defend these asshats?

  • Re:I hope.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rhalin (791665) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @05:40PM (#40731851)

    Castelfranchi & Falcone ( [] ) have a nice overview explaining how and why even the iterated prisoner's dillema fails to explain any real-world human behavior. They provide a nice set of additional citations to go look at as well

Work is the crab grass in the lawn of life. -- Schulz