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Minecraft Patent Lawsuit

A tweet by Minecraft creator and Mojang founder Markus "Notch" Persson reveals that Mojang is being sued for patent infringement over Minecraft, saying: "Step 1: Wake up. Step 2: Check email. Step 3: See we're being sued for patent infringement. Step 4: Smile." He's posted the complaint in Adobe Acrobat format, and Boing Boing notes the plaintiff in this case, Uniloc calls itself an intellectual property "incubation lab" specializing in computer security, but they just call them patent trolls, noting that the suit was filed in Tyler, Texas, which besides being the birthplace of NFL legend Earl Campbell, is apparently also renowned as a place where the courts are known to friendly to the plaintiffs in such cases.

Here's word from the complaint: "Mojang is directly infringing one or more claims of the í067 patent in this judicial district ... by or through making, using, offering for sale, selling and/or importing Android based applications for use on cellular phones and/or tablet devices that require communication with a server to perform a license check to prevent the unauthorized use of said application, including, but not limited to, Mindcraft [sic]."

For his part, Notch tweets about his resolve to fight this out in court, just as he did when sued over the right to name his next game scrolls, saying: "Unfortunately for them, they're suing us over a software patent. If needed, I will throw piles of money at making sure they don't get a cent." He also blogs about this, giving his outlook on such litigation. Here's a portion:

But there is no way in hell you can convince me that itís 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.

A common argument for patents is that inventors wonít invent unless they can protect their ideas. The problem with this argument is that patents apply even if the infringer came up with the idea independently. If the idea is that easy to think of, why do we need to reward the person who happened to be first?

I will say that there are areas which are very costly to research, but where the benefits for mankind long term are very positive. I would personally prefer it to have those be government funded (like with CERN or NASA) and patent free as opposed to whatís happening with medicine, but I do understand why some people thing patents are good in these areas.

Trivial patents, such as for software, are counterproductive (they slown down technical advancement), evil (they sacrifice baby goats to baal), and costly (companies get tied up in pointless lawsuits).

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50. Re: Minecraft Patent Lawsuit Jul 23, 2012, 04:50 NKD
 
InBlack wrote on Jul 23, 2012, 04:38:
Yeah digging this world we live in, where a company can patent a cure or vaccine for a disease and charge whatever it fucking wants for a 2$ chemical solution.

Gotta love capitalism!

Not really relevant. Pharmaceuticals and these bullshit software patents are very, very different subjects. Drugs actually take years and years of research and trials and other expensive stuff. The investment in bringing to market just a single medication is enormous. They don't just pull new medicine out of their asses. Certainly there is discussion to be had regarding pharmaceutical patents, but it's a completely different issue to patent trolling.

Patenting some minor variant on an existing idea in software takes no resource investment at all, yet it happens constantly. It's a huge loophole that needs to be closed.

AnointedSword wrote on Jul 23, 2012, 04:41:
Ideas also need to be protected. For example, I have this great idea about how to make an AR-15 better. The idea is great, but I did not patent the idea. Big corporation (the ones I went to for funding) already have the funding, they take my idea and make millions off it. Protecting ideas also helps the small time inventor as well. Ideas need to be protected...

The existing patent system is more often used as a bludgeon against the small time inventor, than as a protector. It needs to be sacked and rewritten from the ground up.
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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