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Uniloc files patent suit against 'X-Plane' developer

Laminar Research speaks out

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Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Laminar Research, maker of flight simulator X-Plane, is being sued for patent infringement by Uniloc.

Laminar Research, maker of flight simulator X-Plane, is being sued for patent infringement by Uniloc.

The studio is one of nine developers, including Minecraft maker Mojang, against whom Uniloc filed a lawsuit in July for infringing on a patent for copy protection on the Android platform.

Uniloc founder Ric Richardson said he was not a "patent troll" — that his company was only trying to protect its intellectual property — after Mojang's Markus Persson and angry Minecraft fans accused him of being one upon the filing of the lawsuit.

On its website, Laminar Research does everything but specifically discuss its opinion of Uniloc's suit. "We used only the technology that was provided to us by Google for copy protection in our Android App X-Plane," says Laminar Research, pointing out that Google gives the same technology to any Android game developer. The studio also notes that Uniloc's patent was filed in 2001, and lists a few other copy-protection technologies dating back to the late '80s, then asks, "Do you think that you can file a patent on an idea that has been in use for over a DECADE?"

Laminar Research estimates that it will incur legal costs of $1.5 million in defending itself against Uniloc's suit, a legal case that could take two to three years to play out. The studio can afford the legal costs, but has also set up a PayPal account for anyone who wants to contribute to the defense.

A full copy of Uniloc's lawsuit is available on the X-Plane website here (PDF).

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