In today’s world it isn’t uncommon to hear on the news that Apple is going after Samsung, or Samsung is going after Apple, Oracle after Google, Microsoft after Motorola, Kodak after HTC and what seems like about 8 million other big patent battles. And let’s not forget the patent trolls, like VirnetX, who are also suing Apple, Nokia, HTC, Samsung and so on. It isn’t every day that we hear about the little guy being sued for patent violation but today we have.
Four years ago the developer of the app X-Plane, Austin Meyer, received notice that he was being sued by a company by the name of Uniloc. The reason? For uploading his app to the Google Play Store.
On 2/15/2005 Uniloc was granted a patent that reads, “Computer code executable on an electronic device to prevent unauthorized access to electronic data stored on the electronic device, the computer code comprising: code for storing license data on a portable licensing medium configured to communicate with the electronic device; code for determining whether to allow access to the electronic data based on the license data; code for verifying the license data stored on the licensing medium by communicating with a registration authority having verification data; and code for providing updated license data received from the registration authority to the licensing medium.”
I’m no expert on patent law but the specifications in the patent only seem to very vaguely mention anything even closely related to the Play Store. Rather than going after Google, the real brains behind the Google Play Store, they are going after Meyer for merely using it. We of course don’t know for certain but it can be hypothesized that Uniloc is only going after Meyer, and other developers, because it can’t afford to go after Google themselves.
To make the case even more interesting is that the attorney representing Uniloc, a man by the name of Bo Davis, specializes in one thing, patent trials. It doesn’t matter whether they are the suing party or the party being sued he’ll represent them either way. It doesn’t stop there though, almost every case that Bo Davis takes up is filed in the East Texas district overseen by the judge, Leonard Davis. That’s right, they have the same last name! If you are wondering, yes, they are related. Leonard is Bo’s father.
The case gets murkier and murkier the further you dive in to it and it blows my mind that something like this is even legal. Unfortunately, it seems to be and it doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon.
Be sure to check out the video from Austin Meyer explaining why he is being sued, what he has found and all the other fun facts related to the case.
Roy likes to dabble in all things Android and contributes everywhere he can. He owns the site rwilco12.com and its accompanying forum, he develops his own apps and ROM’s, is a Moderator and Recognized Developer on XDA-Developers.com and is the VP of Public Relations for AndroidFileHost.com.