A small company called Laminar Research, a creator of a flight simulator got sued by an even smaller company called Uniloc for IP infringement. Now, the company I work for, used to work with Uniloc for a couple of years, integrating their license-management solution into our product. Around December 2010 they stopped supporting their product and I believed (until recently) that they were shut down.
Well what do you know? it seems that since they stopped developing and selling their product – they started making the big bucks – sounds weird ? not at all!
Apparently these guys, which are located in Luxembourg, finally found a good way of making money without any hard work: by suing!
The “IP” that Uniloc claims that x-plane (and previously Microsoft) infringed can be described as follows:
“A registration authority communicates with the electronic device. The registration authority has a database of verification data for verifying the license data stored on the licensing medium and provides updated license data to the licensing medium.”
Basically what it says: the patent is of a “LIVE” authentication of a license-key with a license-management server (over the web).
After hearing the BS that Apple used against Samsung (for copying features like “pinch and zoom” and the “bounceback” effect), it doesn’t sound that weird anymore. So I’m probably naive, but I still can’t believe that anyone would approve a patent for authenticating against a server.
If you want to read more about Uniloc vs. Laminar Research, you can find the details of the lawsuit here.
Now for the important part: if you have a small start-up, how can you avoid such bogus lawsuits? cause, you know, the minute you’ll start growing – the blood-suckers will come after you…
Luckily, the makers of stackexchange just launched a new beta: patents.stackexchange.com. So before you start developing ANYTHING, better search patents.stackexchange.com, maybe even post a question!