Mojang, developer of the enormously popular independent video game Minecraft, announced Saturday it is being sued for patent infringement.
Because of the nature of the claim by a small company based in Plano, Texas, and named Uniloc USA Inc., it is believed by some that Uniloc may be a patent troll. The firm has also targeted gaming developers Square Enix, Gameloft, and Electronic Arts.
Mojang founder Markus Persson, who goes by the online name Notch, announced the lawsuit via Twitter. His tweet reads: Step 1: Wake up. Step 2: Check email. Step 3: See we're being sued for patent infringement. Step 4: Smile.
Persson went on to decry the state of software patents in the world, tweeting: Software patents are plain evil. Innovation within software is basically free, and it's growing incredibly rapid. Patents only slow it down.
According to PatentBuddy, the patent Mojang is being accused of infringing was filed in 2005. It is for a system and method ... for preventing unauthorized access to electronic data stored on an electronic device.
Basically, Uniloc is claiming to have patented online authorization. It's an intentionally vague patent that allows its holder to go after almost anyone in the software industry over security measures.
Alleged patent trolls such as Uniloc file wide-ranging patents will no plans to ever implement the technology. When another software company makes it big with functions that vaguely resemble the patents involved, the troll takes them to court.
Frequently, it's cheaper and more convenient for companies to settle with patent trolls out of court,
However, Mojang has no current plans to settle with Uniloc and reward its behavior. If needed, I will throw piles of money at making sure they don't get a cent, Persson tweeted.
Minecraft, the game developed by Mojang, allows users to assemble resources and fashion them into elaborate buildings and other creations. The independently developed sandbox-style game has sold 6.6 million units, making it the eighth most popular PC game of all time.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.