Who remembers Tim Langdell, the man who trademarked the word “edge” so he could sue everybody else for using it? This isn’t quite as egregious, maybe, but a Luxembourg-based company named Uniloc is now reportedly suing a bunch of publishers for infringing on similarly stupid patents.
Most recently, that would be Minecraft developer Mojang for allegedly “making, using, offering for sale, selling and/or importing Android based applications for use on cellular phones and/or tablet devices that require communication with a server to perform a license check to prevent the unauthorised use of said application” with the Android version of the game.
Yes, this company seriously holds a patent for applications communicating with a server for the purposes of security authentication. I’m not sure which is worse – Uniloc’s absurdly vague patent, or the person responsible for granting the absurdly vague patent in the first place.
Uniloc has apparently also sued Microsoft, Square Enix, and EA for the same reason. My favourite bit is where the lawsuit against Mojang calls Minecraft “Mindcraft” instead. Surely Mojang has nothing to worry about.
Mojang boss Markus “Notch” Person has promised to take this all the way to hand-to-hand mortal combat if needed – or at least as far as court – saying on Twitter that “I will throw piles of money at making sure they don’t get a cent”.
In a blog post a bit later, he described software patents as “trivial”, “counterproductive”, and “evil”, concluding that “If you own a software patent, you should feel bad.”
I don’t own a software patent, so I don’t feel bad. Not even about eating three Jambos just now.