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Minecraft makers sued over software patent infringement

Uniloc, a Luxembourg-based company that focuses on, "R&D, development and licensing of its technology by a large portfolio of intellectual property (IP) and software," has sued Minecraft creator Markus Persson, alleging that the Minecraft game for the Android operating system violates the company's patent #6,857,067.

Or, in patent-speak, Minecraft allegedly uses, "A system and method for preventing unauthorised access to electronic data [covering] executable computer code on an electronic device to prevent unauthorised access to electronic data stored on the electronic device" without Uniloc's permission.

According to Uniloc's filing, the company's seeking a full jury trial for the suit, and is asking for related damages and costs and pre- and post-judgment interest related to the damages, as well as ongoing royalty fees should the company win out over Persson's "Mindcraft" – as named in the suit.

Persson, who counts a squabble with Bethesda over the use of the word "Scrolls" among his more famous legal issues, has been responding to the suit via his Twitter account.

"Software patents are plain evil. Innovation within software is basically free, and it's growing incredibly rapid. Patents only slow it down," Persson wrote.

"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 additionally Tweeted.

However, Persson isn't the only video game-related subject of Uniloc lawsuits. A thread covering the news on Reddit is filling up with a variety of other patent suits Uniloc's simultaneously filed against video game developers. Uniloc alleges that companies like Electronic Arts, Square Enix, Gameloft, and Madfinger Games – among others – all similarly infringe on the company's '067 patent.

In other words, it appears that Uniloc is using the "shotgun approach."

That said, it's not as if Uniloc hasn't been able to find success in its patent litigation. In March, the company reached a "final and mutually agreeable resolution" to an eight-year patent battle it had waged against Microsoft. Uniloc had originally accused the software giant of infringing on one of its patent related to software registration systems. A jury agreed and, in 2009, awarded Uniloc damages of $388 million (£250 million) – a figure that was later thrown out on appeal.