Some Patent Troll Is Suing Minecraft And An Ensemble Cast Of Big Names

If Mojang and Markus "Notch" Persson, the creator of Minecraft, end up down at a courthouse in east Texas, they'll probably see some familiar faces. Hell, it might be enough for a quorum of the Game Developers Conference.

This morning, Notch tweeted that he awakened and discovered he'd been sued for patent infringement. And while he expressed confidence that this was nothing more than a money-grab, he later railed against software patents, calling them "evil".

Mojang isn't the only target of plaintiff Uniloc, which also filed claims yesterday against Halfbrick, the makers of Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride; Gameloft, an enormous publisher of mobile titles; Square Enix, the publishers of Final Fantasy and Hitman; Laminar Research, creators of the X-Plane flight simulator and Electronic Arts, who brought you Need for Speed: The Run.

The fact these claims also were filed in East Texas, one of the friendliest federal districts for patent troll claims, also indicates this is a big celebrity shakedown. The patent in question was issued in 2005. It is for "a system and method ... for preventing unauthorised access to electronic data stored on an electronic device."

"Software patents are plain evil," Notch ranted. "Innovation within software is basically free, and it's growing incredibly rapid. Patents only slow it down."

Patent trolls exist because it's often cheaper to settle these claims than to litigate them. Notch considers it would be money well spent. "If needed, I will throw piles of money at making sure they don't get a cent," he vowed.

Notch being sued over server authentication patent [Reddit]


    I disagree with the concept of patents being "evil". It's the patent office themselves that have sullied the idea, along with the courts that validate these trolls and their claims.
    Here's hoping that each of them win their cases, and in turn financially destroy this troll.

      That's because you can't read. He is not calling patents evil, it's "software patents". Which is true.

    Legal protections don't seem so evil when you're trolling Beth with them though, do they, Notch?

      Bethesda sued them , you uninformed fool.

        You DO know that Mojang tried to copyright "Scrolls" in all forms of media, ever, right? And that that, if successful, would have seriously compromised "The Elder Scrolls" as a brand legally, to the point of Mojang being able to successfully sue them for using it?

        No? Ah well, Can't be expected to actually understand issues, now can you?

          You mean like a normal copyright?

          And Bethesda responded that they had the right to the word (because they had trade-marked the term "elder scrolls")? That's obviously complete bullshit.

          Either way, your ignoring the fact that Bethesda sued Notch even though he agreed not to copyright the word, but wanted to use the word scrolls in his game nonetheless. They ended up backing down because Bethesda was clearly in the wrong.

          Now you sound both stubborn and misinformed.

          Actually, no you fool, that was never Mojang's purpose. They were copyrighting scrolls as a game title. No authority would every give anyone carte blanche over every implementation of a word.

          Well done.

            Exactly. To find issues with software patents while trying to copyright all instances of a single bloody word reeks of hipocracy.

      Actually, Bethesda were trying for copyright infringement, over the name "Scrolls". It wasn't a softwear patent at all.

    How on earth did that patent get approved? It's way too broad in scope

    God damn patent trolls and domain a squatters real scum worse then the white stuff that forms on the side of your mouth when your thirsty.

    The trouble with software patents is that when they're as general as “a system and method … for preventing unauthorised access to electronic data stored on an electronic device.” it makes it hard to do anything without infringing on the patent. I mean that basically mean that anyone who tries to protect data on an electronic device is infringing on the patent.

    That's basically like having a patent out on having security guards.

      I'd go further than that to just having security. Guards, alarms, locks...

        passwords, latches, zippers..

    The issue with these 'troll' suits is that they just try and get a (relatively) small amount of money settled outside of the courts, to avoid the issue ever going to court and becoming public. It's just bully tactics, and it's horrible.

    I like it when someone like Notch, who (as far as I know) didn't have much money before Minecraft, is willing to spend vast amounts of it to uphold his rights. It's not about the money for this guy - a philosophy which seems to inform everything about his professional life. Yes, everyone wants to be successful but I get the impression that Minecraft is what it is regardless of commercial pressures.
    I've got a lot of respect for Notch, and am on his side on this one.

    'a system and method … for preventing unauthorised access to electronic data stored on an electronic device" - surely a patent can't be this broad, this could cover almost anything from password-protection to virus-scanners!

      I read that as it was a *specific* method. I would look up the exact patent, but I'm too lazy and don't understand the tech.

    I truly hate how you can patent things so vaguely.

    It's like patenting a door. Where as I agree with a patent that detects obsessive force and barricades the door to prevent people breaking in by kicking down a door.

      *obsessive... total spelling fail I meant excessive.

      This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      Have you read the patent in question? It may actually be incredibly detailed.

    How the hell did this patent even make it past the checkers?! It's so stupidly vague that most of what is considered DRM over the last umpteen years could be considered a violation.

    Yet another case of the patent office having absolutely no idea what they were granting a patent for but doing it anyway.

    Face, meet palm

    "and Electronic Arts, who brought you Need for Speed: The Run" as if they needed to say what EA's done. What I'd like to know is why did they say NFS The Run, when they could have said something like Battlefiled 3 or Mass Effect which were both way more popular? :P

      Maybe something in the case specifically referenes nfs: the run, like the troll is claiming that particular game infringes, or something?

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