One of the biggest gaming headlines this weekend was the patent suit filed by computer security software company Uniloc against several gaming developers’ license check systems. Tops on Uniloc’s list was Mojang, a Swedish company owned by Markus “Notch” Persson and best-known as the developers of Minecraft. As a result of this suit, Uniloc effectively became the laughing stock of the gaming world. Not a few people referred to them as “patent trolls”, as the company has, as of the last count, sued at least 73 companies. Making them even more laughable was the misspelling of Minecraft as “Mindcraft” on the patent suit – obviously, Uniloc’s lawyer Barry Bumgardner hasn’t played a lot of video games lately.
Yesterday, Australian inventor Ric Richardson, a man long associated with Uniloc as he had invented their original “216” patent, posted his sentiments on the case on his eponymous blog site. He dispelled speculation that he is a Uniloc principal (Uniloc’s Wikipedia page still lists him as such), clarified that his patent is not the one being disputed with Mojang and basically lashed out at the many sources that had referred to him and Uniloc as “patent trolls.” Oh, and he spelled Mojang as “Majong” on the disclaimer above his blog post. What’s with all these misspellings anyway?
In short, Richardson’s blog entry had two objectives – to clear his name and defend the company he claims not to speak for in his post, a company he used to head till 2007. There’s no doubt whose side he’s on – as Richardson posted, “It amazes me that people complain about paying a royalty for a technology that stops up to a third of a software companies sales from being lost to piracy.” As for Notch and the rest of Mojang, his most recent online activity says it all. He’s against the concept of software patents (which he refers to as “evil”) and more for the sharing of ideas, and as per a recent tweet, he’s willing to “throw piles of money at making sure they don’t get a cent.” No doubt about it, this could become even more interesting in the weeks to come, now that Richardson’s rooting for Uniloc from the sidelines.