The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit organization that champions the public intrest in digital rights battles, today announced that it has received two huge donations from very different entrepreneurs.
Mark Cuban and Markus “Notch” Persson have each donated $250,000 dollars toward the EFF’s goal of reforming software patent laws. Cuban is the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and Notch is the outspoken creator of the popular video game Minecraft.
“The current state of patents and patent litigation in this country is shameful,” said Cuban. “Silly patent lawsuits force prices to go up while competition and innovation suffer. That’s bad for consumers and bad for business. It’s time to fix our broken system, and EFF can help. So that’s why part of my donation funds a new title for EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels: ‘The Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents’.”
Cuban has been outspoken in the past about his hatred of patent trolls and poor patent laws. Back in April 2012, Cuban ranted about the current state of technology patents while discussing a lawsuit between Facebook and Yahoo.
Notch pioneered a pricing model for Minecraft based on how finished the game was at the time of purchase. He also founded Mojang, a new Swedish indie-game developer that has taken in over $80 million since the release of Minecraft.
“Temporary fixes aren’t good enough – we need deep and meaningful reform to protect software development and keep it as free and democratic as possible,” said Notch. “New games and other technological tools come from improving on old things and making them better – an iterative process that the current patent environment could shut down entirely. This is a dangerous path we’re on, and I’m glad to help EFF move us in the right direction.”
The EFF’s Defend Innovation project proposes seven ways in which the U.S. patent system could be reformed for the better, including shorter terms for software patents; allowing winning parties in patent litigation to recover fees and costs; and protecting inventors who independently invent an already patented idea. The organization stated that the Cuban/Notch donations will go to the hiring of a new attorney experienced in patent reform and to the organization’s continuing efforts to push for patent reform through the courts, activism campaigns, and public education.