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Activision Blizzard Sued For Patent Infringement Over WoW, CoD 194

New submitter thunderdanp writes with news that a company called Worlds Inc. has filed a patent suit against Activision Blizzard, targeting World of Warcraft and the Call of Duty series. The patents in question describe a "System and Method for Enabling Users to Interact in a Virtual Space." Worlds Inc. is quite glad that "their" technology has "helped the businesses of virtual worlds gaming and the sale of virtual goods to grow into a multibillion-dollar industry" — but now they want a cut.
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Activision Blizzard Sued For Patent Infringement Over WoW, CoD

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  • by Zakabog ( 603757 ) <john@@@jmaug...com> on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:44PM (#39679881)

    How did they even get a patent for this? They basically described every multiplayer video game for the past 20 years.

  • by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:46PM (#39679921)

    I see that they made a spinoff company to litigate with so that when they lose they don't lose the shirts off their back when they lose, which they will.

  • by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:54PM (#39680011)
    It's obvious that the lawsuits are ridiculous but what's most ridiculous is they are allowed to file after this many years. Usually there's a three year cut off. These companies, and some of them are the majors, sit back and let the totals add up until there are businesses valued in the hundreds of millions to billions of dollars to sue. It's a blatant way of preventing the offender from modifying their product to avoid being sued and to rack up as much damages as possible before filing. Some minor tweaks in WoW might have avoided the lawsuit so they sit quietly until the damages are massive then sue. Without reading the patents it's hard to say but some of their claims involve things that have been standard in gaming for more than 20 years. The biggest advance in WoW was faster computers and connections allowing multiple players to interact. Also how could it have "helped the businesses of virtual worlds gaming and the sale of virtual goods to grow into a multibillion-dollar industry" when the ones being sued were never aware of the patents in the first place. It's like patenting the wheel then keeping it to yourself then claiming the car companies stole your design.
  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:23PM (#39680331)

    That's what I thought at first - but the submitter linked to the wrong patent(s). They have several dating all the way back to the mid 90's that at least predate any commercial 3D MMORPGs.

    Not saying they aren't stupid patents, but at the least they were not in fact stupid enough to try to sue their prior art...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @09:14PM (#39681761)

    FWIW, the judge that made East Texas famous for it's patent rocket docket has retired (about 6 months ago [news-journal.com]). So not only is it not the patent-friendly court it used to be, but that particular judge no longer serves as well.

  • by SadButTrue ( 848439 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:49PM (#39682363) Homepage

    Horrible statistical assumptions here. To compare success rates only, is to assume that the quality of the complaints in all districts had the same distribution. For the sake of argument lets say that 100% of the frivolous cases were filed in E. Texas and 0% in S. NY. You can plainly see that success rate alone would tell you nothing. I understand that this is not the case, the numbers are simply meant to illustrate the assumption being made.

    In real terms there is reason to believe that there is indeed a skew in the validity of the cases brought however. How much? I have no idea. Perhaps a better statistic would be the number or trials verdicts that have been overturned?

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein