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Uniloc Sues Mojang, EA, Others Over Server Authentication

By - Source: Reddit | B 18 comments

Uniloc is a company with a history of patent trolling. It's now steamrolling companies with lawsuits.

"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...

 

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Display 18 Comments.
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  • 6 Hide
    Kami3k , July 23, 2012 9:25 PM
    This is beyond absurd at this rate.
  • 5 Hide
    panders4 , July 23, 2012 9:26 PM
    There are so many broad and generally useless patents issued that no matter what business you are in you are bound to be sued by a patent troll. It sickens me that software ideas can even be patented.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , July 23, 2012 9:37 PM
    Samsung sells more than 10 million Galaxy S III phones

    http://www.techatron.net/2012/07/samsung-sells-more-than-10-million.html
  • 4 Hide
    hotsacoman , July 23, 2012 9:55 PM
    Quote:
    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.


    I just purchased Mindcraft and the new imagination upgrade. I'm pretty sure I'll be recreating Rome pretty soon.
  • -7 Hide
    A Bad Day , July 23, 2012 10:20 PM
    Mindcraft? I can forgive a typo, but three times in a row?
  • 3 Hide
    dkant1n , July 23, 2012 10:21 PM
    All this patent war is holding back competition and development
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , July 23, 2012 10:26 PM
    It's probably his spellchecker and a careless replace-all.
  • 3 Hide
    mayne92 , July 23, 2012 11:05 PM
    "Mindcraft." Yes, Mindcraft."

    Pathetic. Uniloc just proved that not only are they morons but their three lawyers are too.
  • 8 Hide
    mayne92 , July 23, 2012 11:06 PM
    A Bad DayMindcraft? I can forgive a typo, but three times in a row?


    I Am MalkavIt's probably his spellchecker and a careless replace-all.


    You two apparently don't pay attention to detail huh?
  • 4 Hide
    razor512 , July 23, 2012 11:10 PM
    new rule to reduce patent trolling, if you lose any patent case, the patent it's self is nullified and anyone can then infringe upon it with no problem.

    add more risk to the patent trolling, If you lose then you lose the patent.

    and if needed, also add personal risk. If you patent troll and lose, you get arrested for filing a false report (patent system is a law system which is why lawsuit can work) and an unsuccessful case means a false report of patent infringement, so punish all those involved the same way you would punish people for doing things like swatting (prank calls to get the police to send a swat team to someones home)

    and do like a 3 strike policy where if they have 3 failed cases then they all of their assets will be given to the defendants in the 3 failed cases and the owners of the patent trolling company will be arrested for patent trolling. (this will make it so that a patent case will only happen for exact patents and none of the vague crap (eg suing a company because you have a patent for sending any form of data over a copper wire (where the idea is patented meaning they follow the patent troll system where you take something that is being done now (eg if it was when electricity was was just discovered and the method for time delayed communications was written text, then you would patent sending the information over a wire and not describe how)

    anyway most of these issues will be solved if they made it more risky to start a patent case.
    if you have actual proper evidence of a patent infringement then you have nothing to worry about.
  • 0 Hide
    Antimatter79 , July 23, 2012 11:18 PM
    Apparently patent trolling is a lucrative business model. Maybe some school create a graduate program. "Those who can, do. Those who can't, sue."
  • -2 Hide
    A Bad Day , July 23, 2012 11:19 PM
    mayne92"Mindcraft." Yes, Mindcraft."Pathetic. Uniloc just proved that not only are they morons but their three lawyers are too.


    I looked up "Mindcraft" in Google, and it didn't show up.
  • 0 Hide
    RADIO_ACTIVE , July 23, 2012 11:54 PM
    Well alot of these companies are screwing us, is it weird I think that they deserve it lol
  • -1 Hide
    freggo , July 24, 2012 12:31 AM
    RADIO_ACTIVEWell alot of these companies are screwing us, is it weird I think that they deserve it lol


    "They deserve it" ?
    Keep in mind that any settlement amounts are simply passed on to the consumer of their respective products. You and I are paying for their lawyer's new Ferrari !
  • 0 Hide
    opmopadop , July 24, 2012 1:26 AM
    A Bad DayI looked up "Mindcraft" in Google, and it didn't show up.

    Click on the link that the author of this article was good enough to include for you.
  • 0 Hide
    matt_b , July 24, 2012 4:15 AM
    Patent reform:

    1) Any and all companies involved in a history of patent bullying and found guilty, shall further cease and desist from any further lawsuits from a universal court order. Punishment for said company may also include reparations of up to the maximum court settlement amounts from settled cases of previously-sued companies to be back-payed (scare tactic).
    2) Any company filing lawsuit without an actual physical product on the marketplace being actively produced and sold (paper patent trolls) shall have no grounds for litigation.

    Done, that ought to wipe out half of the nonsense.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 24, 2012 10:23 AM
    They have no right to sue mojang and other complanies. I mean, who has ever heard of this obsurd company name 'Uniloc'. As in the words of Optimus Prime, 'One shall stand. One shall fall.' The one that will be falling will be 'Uniloc' as mojang has millions of fans behinds its back. And what gives Uniloc to sue other companies?
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , July 24, 2012 6:55 PM
    I'd argue that its win against Microsoft, deserved or not, emboldened this company to attempt to sue everyone.

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