Patent troll Uniloc is suing Minecraft developer Mojang, as well as EA and Square Enix, for infringing on a form of copy-protection it "owns." Uniloc's goal is to "Look at many ideas. Pick an outstanding one. Patent it. Commercialize it. Reap the rewards." In other words, it sits on concepts and sues anybody who comes close.
Uniloc claims to own the patent behind applications "that require communication with a server to perform a license check to prevent the unauthorized use of said application, including, but not limited to, Minecraft." In other words, it's suing over what sounds like most modern copy protection. A number of other companies are in Uniloc's sights, such as Gameloft.
Oh, and they referred to Minecraft as "Mindcraft" because they're ludicrous douches.
"Unfortunately for them, they’re suing us over a software patent," Tweeted the studio founder. "If needed, I will throw piles of money at making sure they don’t get a cent."
Notch later blogged about the nature of patents, writing, "There is no way in hell you can convince me that it’s beneficial for society to not share ideas. Ideas are free. They improve on old things, make them better, and this results in all of society being better. Sharing ideas is how we improve."
I understand why patents exist, but I think the rules governing them need a major overhaul. We can't have this situation where a company conceives (or, as seems to be the case, acquires) a vague idea, reserves the rights to it, then just sits on it with the intent to sue anybody who has a similar idea but has the willingness to do something productive.
It's disgustingly parasitic, and allows serpents like Tim Langdell to exist. It's ridiculous that we have a system in place that allows people to make money by pretending to be entitled to the rewards of somebody else's hard work. Even if the target is copy protection, it's still rather gross.
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