"Step 1: Wake up. Step 2: Check email. Step 3: See we're being sued for patent infringement. Step 4: Smile" read Mojang co-founder Notch's Twitter feed on the morning of the 21st.
The suing party is Uniloc, a Luxembourg-based company that, according to the company's own site, "discovers and develops big ideas that are technology driven." Delving a bit into Uniloc's past reveals that the company's apparently more interested in patent trolling that fulfilling any of the lofty aims its set out for itself.
Back in 2003, Uniloc sued Microsoft over a software licensing method that founder Ric Richardson had patented (Patent No. 5,490,216) back in 1996. The company accused Microsoft of violating the patent with how product activation worked in Microsoft Office. After almost a decade of legal battles, Uniloc finally ended on top after whittling out $388 million from Microsoft.
But Uniloc's suit with Microsoft alone doesn't make it a patent troll. Since then, the company's been shotgun suing companies right and left. Each of these legal battles are proudly displayed on the company website's "News" tab.
In June 2010, Uniloc filed suits against Sony, Activision Blizzard, Aspyr Media, Borland Software, McAfee, and quark over the same patent.
Not content with being embroiled in seven different suits, the company then slapped Symantec, Adobe, CA Inc., National Instrments, Pervasive Softwa, SafeNet, Avid Technology, Sonic Solutions, and Onyx Graphics with lawsuits over the same patent just a few months later in September 2010.
Now, the company's back at it again with a different patent. Patent 6,857,067 details a simple server authentication process via a smart card reader, which Uniloc claims Mojang is violating "[sic]by orthrough making, using, offering for sale, selling and/or importing Android basedapplications for use on cellular phones and/or tablet devices that require communication with aserver to perform a license check to prevent the unauthorized use of said application, including,but not limited to, Mindcraft." Yes, Mindcraft.
Once again, Uniloc isn't content without having an entire slew of lawsuits to slog through. On July 20th, the company not only filed suit against Mojang, but EA, Madfinger Games, Full Fat Productions, Gameloft, Laminar Research, Polarbit, Square Enix, and Halfbrick Studios. Reddit user Zippy54 spotted and tracked down every single one of these claims, which are aggregated in the top post here.
Don't bother reading past the "Mindcraft" filing, as the rest of them are essentially carbon copies. Uniloc is seeking payment for damages both pre and post judgment. With the patent wars already as confusing as it is, Uniloc adding quite a few more suits to the case really isn't helping.
Stay tuned for more from this saga...