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Irvine’s Uniloc Sues Sony, Activision Blizzard, Others

Irvine’s Uniloc USA Inc., a maker of security software that last year won a massive settlement from Microsoft Corp., is going after some other big names.

Uniloc is suing Sony Corp., Activision Blizzard Inc., McAfee Inc. and others for what it contends is illegal use of the company’s software that ties programs to a specific computer to prevent copying on other PCs.

Others being sued are Quark Inc., Borland Software Corp. and Aspyr Media Inc., which converts PC games so they can run on Apple Inc.’s Mac software.

The litigation echoes a suit Uniloc pursued against Microsoft.

Last year, Uniloc won a six-year patent infringement lawsuit and saw a $388 million jury award against Microsoft.

The company claimed Microsoft used Uniloc’s “physical device recognition” software—which distinguishes a computer from millions of others out there—to prevent copying of its Windows XP operating system and Office suite.

The win brought a lot of attention to low-profile Uniloc, which got billed as a victor in a David and Goliath drama. Uniloc has yearly sales of about $100 million.

A judge since has overturned the ruling with Uniloc pursuing an appeal that’s slated to start in September.

The latest lawsuits come after a reworking of Uniloc earlier this year.

The company essentially split itself in two, forming BlueCava Inc., a unit to handle sales of Uniloc software.

Uniloc USA is part of Australia’s Uniloc Corp., which is little more than a holding company.

There’s a board in Australia. But most of Uniloc’s operations are in Irvine.

The company’s Australian roots trace back to founder Ric Richards, who in the early 1990s filed a patent for the technology behind the company’s software.

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