Uniloc are suing X-Plane creators Laminar Research for one and a half million dollars over an alleged infringement of their patent, which concerns verifying licenses with an online check. If that all sounds grimly familiar, that's because the same company are also in the process of suing Mojang over the same patent. Much as Notch vowed to prevent the alleged patent trolls at Uniloc from earning a single cent, the creator of X-Plane Austin Meyer is gearing up to defend his company too.
Uniloc's website meanwhile still carries this bafflingly honest self-appraisal of the company's destructive mission: "Look at many ideas. Pick an outstanding one. Patent it. Commercialize it. Reap the rewards."
Laminar Research's Austin Meyer has posted the full details of the Uniloc suit on the X-Plane site. It concerns the Android version of the flight simulator, which uses copy protection code given to Laminar (and presumably to all Android developers who want it) by Google themselves. Meyer points out that seven other Android developers are facing lawsuits for infringing on said patent.
He also notes that, while the Uniloc patent was filed in 2001, there are several examples of license-checking software that predates Uniloc's patent by decades. Uniloc, it would seem, didn't invent this particularly vague anti-piracy technique. They simply claimed the rights to it before suing over 70 companies for infringing on their patents. That would appear to be their business model, as described by their own website.
Meyer has outlined his feelings about the case, his plans to fight it, the costs involved and the toll the stress of a years-long court battle will have on his family and himself. It's all rather awful when - let's be honest - it's so plain to see who the bad guys are.
Laminar plan to share defence fees among the other Android developers being sued, a sum that Meyer can currently cover, though he'll gratefully accept any assistance from X-Plane fans who'd like to help.
"I promise that I will not give them one single penny of your contribution," Meyer reassures. "Every single penny that you donate will be used by me to defend against Uniloc, and if any money is left over after the lawsuit, I will put it towards my next Pet Adoption Center within one week of the lawsuits’ conclusion. I promise you: I will NEVER settle with them."
Following news of Uniloc's suing Minecraft creator Mojang, and the subsequent outrage directed at the company, Uniloc founder Ric Richardson defend patents on his personal blog: "Well I'm sorry if you don't think its right to protect yourself. I think it's irresponsible to involve others in an enterprise when you don't do everything you reasonably can to protect their interests as well as your own."
Thanks PC Gamer.