The founder of Uniloc, the Luxembourg company suing Mojang over the Android version of Minecraft, has rejected the accusation that he is a "patent troll" and defended the practice of patenting software after receiving "disgusting" emails.
Australian inventor Ric Richardson took to his blog after receiving "a large number" of emails and tweets about Uniloc's lawsuit against Mojang, which Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson highlighted on Twitter over the weekend. The lawsuit centres on the copy protection used by Mojang to protect Minecraft: Pocket Edition.
After pointing out that the lawsuit had nothing to do with him (he does not own the patent and is a non-majority shareholder in the company), Richardson slammed those on the internet who in his opinion have published "inflammatory remarks from the cheap seats".
"I feel compelled to say something regarding all of the strong language and accusations being thrown around on Twitter, in the press and some rather disgusting emails sent to me personally because I had the audacity to put my email address on my site. [Which I am now sadly forced to remove].
"From the first day the importance of patents was explained to me I have tried to act responsibly with the trust given to me by the many people who gave their time, effort and investment to help insure the technologies ultimate success.
"One expression that comes to my mind is the saying that having a great technology without a patent is like having a Lamborghini and leaving the keys in it."
In 1992 Richardson invented the 216 Uniloc technology upon which the company was based.
"Yes. I filed a patent back then," he said.
"Well I'm sorry if you don't think it's 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."
Notch has been vocal in his distaste for those who patent software. "Software patents are plain evil," he tweeted. "Innovation within software is basically free, and it's growing incredibly rapid. Patents only slow it down."
"Just think about the logic here," Richardson countered. "The people complaining about the law suits here are complaining that a company is trying to protect its own right to make a living from a technology that the patent office has verified as unique and novel. If you disagree then track the patent office and voice your problems with the patents as they are published.
"And yet, the technology in question is a system that stops people from pirating their software and helps them make money. Well if you think it's so unfair, don't use the tech. Do something else. No one is forcing you to use the technology.
"It amazes me that people complain about paying a royalty for a technology that stops up to a third of a software companies [sic] sales from being lost to piracy. What are you saying? 'It's all right to steal from Uniloc as long as it helps stop pirates stealing from me?'"
Then: "Finally, to the personal attacks at me. I am not a patent troll. I am the inventor of the 216 patent. I worked nearly two decades to make the technology a success. I am not a money hungry megalomaniac.
"In fact it has been well documented that my wife and I like to keep our life pretty simple and have dedicated all our non-essential resources to a cause we support.
"Further, I think it's a sad thing to see people making inflammatory remarks from the cheap seats. The Internet can be a real disappointing place when people can mouth off without taking responsibility for their actions. Just sad."
Uniloc wants a trial by jury in the Eastern District of Texas.