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Now Patent Uglies Uniloc Want To Bumgarden X-Plane

reverse metaphor

Software firm/patent-squatters Uniloc have long been making life miserable for any firm they reckon they can wrestle a buck out of, but made perhaps their biggest headlines when they targeted Minecraft recently, employing one Barry J. Bumgardner as their hilariously-named legal bully. Hopefully Mojang’s hard-won resistance to twattastic patent claims – Uniloc’s being that it owns concepts concerning online software license checks – means they’ll be able to stand firm against this ‘IP incubation lab’, but in the meantime the rotters are plotting to give venerable flight sim series X-Plane a right old bumgardening too.

It’s basically the same deal as with ‘Mindcraft’ [sic], though in this instance at least Unilock weren’t so inept as to fudge the spelling of the name of a game that’s apparently such a big threat to their unwelcome existence. Once again, Uniloc have elected to go Bumgardening, and once again the company they’re trying to scare cash out of have said they’re not standing for it. Good on ’em.

In fact, Laminar Research, creators of X-Plane, have dug up some evidence to suggest Uniloc’s claim (which is also chasing after 8 other devs, apparently) is on infirm ground. They’ve identified a bunch of online licensing-related programs that existed prior to Uniloc’s 2001 patent-squatting. Additionally, Uniloc is after Laminar specifically for the Android version of X-Plane, which apparently uses an online licensing check thing given to ’em by Google – which could make for an interesting escalation.

I’m no lawyer, as the ass who who emails me every time I write about legal stories to tell me I should talk to a lawyer before I post them would be only too happy to point out, so I don’t know if Laminar’s evidence will amount to anything: I’m just glad that they’re standing up to Uniloc. X-Plane is one of the grand old men of PC gaming by this point, and should have at least as much empassioned moral support from PC gamers as we gave to Mojang and the victims of Tim Langdell.

No more Bumgardening, that’s what I say.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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