Latest in Culture

Image credit:

One of the most profitable patent trolls has been defanged

The Patent Trademark and Appeals Board rules that Uniloc's 'software activation' patent is invalid.
7 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Uniloc, perhaps best known as Patent Troll in Chief, suffered a pretty devastating blow today. The company has long asserted that its "software activation" patent that's beguiled everyone from Microsoft (to the tune of $388 million) to Electronic Arts gives it clearance to sue just about anyone who uses a form of online authentication for software. Until now, according to the Kansas City Business Journal. The Patent Trademark and Appeals Board has ruled that Uniloc's patent number 5,490,216 is invalid via an inter partes review (IPR). Essentially an IPR is a way for inventors to challenge a patent without getting federal courts involved.

To win, Sega of America, Ubisoft, Cambium Learning Group (an educational software developer), Lexmark subsidiary Kofax and Star Trek Online publisher Perfect World Entertainment fought back with something different. Uniloc has been using an apparently vaguely written Australian patent for its DRM system. That was filed a year prior to submitting it domestically, after other companies had released similar systems. The PTAB sided with the aforementioned companies, agreeing that Uniloc's practice wasn't on the up and up.

"Ultimately the PTAB gave undue credibility to a lone expert opinion that was authored by petitioners' counsel," Unilock USA president Sean Burdick wrote in an email. "Congratulations to Erise IP [the law firm representing Ubisoft and Co.] for pulling wool over the eyes of the Patent office." And that, my friends, is what we call irony. Uniloc can still appeal, of course, but hasn't done so yet. If that email is any indicator, chances are high that this isn't the last we'll hear from Burdick.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
7 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Pioneering NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson dies at 101

Pioneering NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson dies at 101

View
Huawei's smart speaker will be available outside of China, but not the US

Huawei's smart speaker will be available outside of China, but not the US

View
Microsoft confirms Xbox Series X will have a 12 teraflop GPU

Microsoft confirms Xbox Series X will have a 12 teraflop GPU

View
Amazon drops the Fire TV Cube to its best-ever price

Amazon drops the Fire TV Cube to its best-ever price

View
Watch Sony's Xperia event in 7 minutes

Watch Sony's Xperia event in 7 minutes

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr