Android developer fights evil patent troll

Katie sez, "The video profiles software developer Austin Meyer, who is the target of a patent troll lawsuit involving a company called Uniloc, which owns a patent for the "System and Method for Preventing Unauthorized Access to Electronic Data." Meyer's flight simulator app X-Plane, like most paid applications on the Android market, uses the authorization system. Uniloc purchased the patent in question at a bankruptcy proceeding. Despite the enormous risk, and the enormous cost just to defend against a patent suit, Meyer is resolved to do so. The broader point of the video is that something needs to be done to stop patent trolls from simply buying patents in order to intimidate innovators into paying them a settlement. Patent trolls are a huge tax on innovation and add nothing to the marketplace."

How Patent Trolls Kill Innovation (Thanks, Katie!)


    1.  Because he specifically is the one being sued.

      Wouldn’t surprise me if part of his defense ends up being ‘I’m not even the right person to sue for this, google is’

      1.  oh right – but what i meant is that can’t google join this fight with an amicus motion or such? clearly it’s in their interest to keep the android ecosystem up and running. having some random troll running around saying that you can’t contact a server for authorization really messes up the android marketplace!

        i thought i remember apple having intervened in a similar case with app store apps. but i could be wrong.

  1. Crowd researched patent fight?  We all add our 2bits in about the legal procedures and documents required? 

    1. Why not sue them instead?  Why even give them even a slim opportunity to keep existing, if we could just bankrupt them in court?

      1. Prior art invalidates a lot of patent trolls, but it doesn’t stop them being a flaming nuisance with them.

  2. Hi Cory — maybe you could link to his app from the story. I think any benefit he can get from standing up to these trolls would be much appreciated.

  3. X-Plane is first class software. I haven’t tried that Android version, but I would be very surprised if it weren’t quite impressive. These patent trolls selected the wrong target, because Austin may be a small developer but he’s going to fight this. 

    As he points out, he’s not broke and he can fight this, but it is a serious hit. Supporting him is a cool thing to do. If you’re interested in a very good flight simulator and have a computer running an OS (seriously, almost any OS) then X-Plane is the best simulator there is, and not expensive. Very realistic flight characteristics. I had to renew my license last year and did so in an aircraft type I had never flown before. I practiced in X-Plane and knew the airplane and its characteristics before I ever climbed into it… pretty cool. (because X-Plane does airflow simulations it is much more realistic than any other sim).

  4. “When a computer runs a paid application, one way that developers can assure that a customer has actually purchased the application is by coding the application to match a license code with an encrypted database. This is a method that most paid applications on the Android market use. It’s a method that Meyer argues has been in use since at least the late ’80s. This is the idea that Uniloc claims to own.”

    Isn’t that a form of DRM which will never fly if the app is free software? So in a way, Austin Meyer doesn’t want people to control their phones any more than Uniloc do. So in a way it’s not stand-up little guy vs. evil big guy, it’s bad little guy vs. bad big guy.

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