Uniloc sues Minecraft, EA and others for patent infringement

23 Jul 2012

Copy protection software company Uniloc has filed a lawsuit citing 10 companies – including Electronic Arts and Mojang, developer of Minecraft – whom it alleges have infringed on one of its patents.

The patent pertains to a system and method for preventing unauthorised access to electronic data and, in the case of Minecraft, concerns the way in which players access the game via Android devices.

Creator of the popular pixelated PC game and founder of Mojang Markus Persson at first appeared find the lawsuit humorous, expressing his amusement on Twitter.

Markus Persson tweet

Persson later tweeted he would “throw piles of money at making sure [Uniloc] don’t get a cent” and the case has now erupted in a war of words on copyright infringement between Persson and Uniloc founder Ric Richardson.

While Persson has blogged about how patent litigation is damaging games development, Richardson has blogged in defence of patents.

Markus Persson tweet

Uniloc is seeking damages and ongoing royalties from Mojang, Electronic Arts, GameLoft, Square Enix and others for infringing on the same patent. The company is no stranger to the courts, having sued almost 80 companies to date, including big names like Adobe, Sony and Microsoft – the latter of which resulted in an eight-year case recently settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

This bad news for Mojang comes hot on the heels of more positive reports that its Xbox 360 versions have surpassed 3m sales. More than 35m people have signed up on Minecraft.net and more than 6.7m have purchased the game.

However, despite its popularity, Uniloc still managed to misspell the game as ‘Mindcraft’ in court papers.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic