Minecraft creator sued over user controls

Screengrab of Minecraft The blocky building and survival game has proved hugely popular since its launch

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Minecraft maker Mojang is being sued over the way it gives gamers access to mobile versions of the game.

Texas-based Uniloc claims to own the patent that covers the way users are authorised to play via a phone.

Mojang founder Markus Persson said he would "throw piles of money" into the legal fight against the claim.

Mojang is one of ten companies, including Electronic Arts, GameLoft and Square Enix, that have been named in the lawsuit.

The patent that Uniloc claims Mojang and others are using without permission describes a way to check that a person wanting to play a game has the right to do so. If not, that person is locked out of the game.

In its court papers, Uniloc says the version of Minecraft for Android mobile phones violates its patented technology. Throughout the court papers, Uniloc misspells the name of the hugely popular game as "Mindcraft".

Mr Persson announced that Mojang was being sued via his Twitter feed and in subsequent messages announced his intention to fight the claim.

In one tweet, he criticised software patents in general, saying they were "plain evil".

"Innovation within software is basically free, and it's growing incredibly rapid," he said.

"Patents only slow it down. If needed, I will throw piles of money at making sure they don't get a cent."

String of suits

Uniloc founder Ric Richardson, took to his blog to defend himself against the barrage of comments he had received in the wake of the lawsuit being filed.

Mr Richardson said the Uniloc lawsuit had nothing to do with him. He went on to defend software patents saying: "Having a great technology without a patent is like having a Lamborghini and leaving the keys in it."

Uniloc is known for being aggressive in defending its claims to the many patents it owns.

In the past it has sued lots of large tech firms, including Microsoft, over their use of technologies it claims to own. The eight-year case against Microsoft ended earlier in 2012 when the software giant settled out of court.

On its website, Uniloc said many of the firms it had sued had decided to settle out of court.

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