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Electronic Arts, other game developers, sued for patent infringement

Uniloc claims that their Android applications for mobile phones and tablets infringe its patent

Electronic Arts and nine other game developers are being sued by Uniloc which claims that some of their Android applications infringe a patent for preventing unauthorized access to electronic data

Uniloc has claimed for example that Electronic Arts infringes one or more claims of the patent in its Android applications, including Bejeweled 2, that require communication with a server to perform a license check to prevent the unauthorized use of the application.

Similar allegations of patent infringement have been made against the other companies.

The lawsuits were filed on Friday before a court in Texas by Uniloc Luxembourg, which said it owns U.S. Patent No. 6,857,067 ('067 patent) by assignment, and Uniloc USA which is said to be the exclusive licensee of the Luxembourg company for the patent.

The patent was awarded to inventor Martin S. Edelman of Morganville, New Jersey according to the records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"A portable licensing medium is configured to communicate with the electronic device for storing license data. The license data is used to determine whether to allow access to the electronic data. 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," according to the abstract of the patent.

Among the other companies that face Uniloc's lawsuits for infringement of the patent before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division are Polarbit, Distinctive Developments, Laminar Research, Gameloft, Halfbrick Studios, Madfinger Games, Mojang, Square Enix, and Full Fat Productions.

"If needed, I will throw piles of money at making sure they don't get a cent," said Markus Persson, founder and game developer at Mojang, in a Twitter message in response to the lawsuit. "Innovation within software is basically free, and it's growing incredibly rapid. Patents only slow it down," he added.

Uniloc describes itself as patent licensing company. It is seeking damages and ongoing royalties from the game developers. It has filed patent infringement suits in the past against Adobe, CA, Microsoft, and Symantec. Microsoft settled with the company in March this year over a patent on technology to deter piracy.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com


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