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 World of Warcraft ,  Call of Duty  accused of violating virtual worlds patent
World of Warcraft, Call of Duty accused of violating virtual worlds patent
April 5, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

April 5, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
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A company going by the name of Worlds Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Activision, claiming that a number of the publisher's online games violate a patent relating to large-scale virtual worlds.

Worlds Inc. claims that both World of Warcraft and the Call of Duty franchise have violated one of its patents that covers a "system and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space."

Worlds Inc. said that its patent extends to MMOs and online games, and in 2008 the company filed a similar lawsuit against NCSoft on the grounds that City of Heroes violated this very same patent. That case was dismissed in 2010 after the companies reached an undisclosed settlement.

"Technologies created by Worlds have helped the businesses of virtual worlds gaming and the sale of virtual goods to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry," said Worlds Inc. CEO Thom Kidrin.

"While we are pleased to see that the gaming industry and its rapidly growing customer base have enthusiastically embraced our patented technologies, we deserve fair compensation for their use."

Gamasutra has contacted both Activision and Worlds Inc. for further comment, but has yet to hear back as of press time.


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Comments


John Ingato
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that's BS

Bart Heijltjes
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"system and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space."
They claim to have invented multiplayer? Networking? The internet?

Harlan Sumgui
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fucking Al Gore.

Harry Fields
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God, I wish all patent trolls would die.

Ken Nakai
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Last I checked WoW and Call of Duty were around in 2008...why weren't they sued? Hmm...

Darcy Nelson
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Worlds looks like a terrible, dumbed down version of SecondLife. Maybe NCSoft couldn't afford to keep up the legal battle, but I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard didn't settle this one on principle.

tony khz
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Worlds.inc and before that worlds.com has been involved in the 3d world buissnes since the early 90s, it has almost all of the patents and before anyone else comments here about the history of these games please have a quick look here....... http://knol.google.com/k/tony-khz/worlds-com-a-history/2pp40c68yt
z4j/2

Worlds, Inc. was started as KA Worlds, a spin-off from Knowledge Adventure (an edutainment CDROM company) sometime in late '93 or early '94. The original version of Worlds Chat was built using 3D graphics technology originally developed at Knowledge Adventure, which had been used for single-user 3D environments in various KA products.

1994 corporate demos.

Worlds Chat Team
The original team put together Worlds Chat, including Dave Leahy, Andrea Gallagher, Wolf Schmidt, Judy Challinger, Syed Asif Hassan, Farshid Meshgali, Kurt Kokko, John Navitsky, Naggi Asmar, David Tolley and many others. Jeff Robinson (a.k.a. Scamper, the Combat Wombat) working with Helen Cho was World Chat's first artist, and is responsible for much of the "better-lit alien" look of the space station.

Matthew Mouras
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I recently heard a radio piece on software patents. It was fascinating. Apparently it was like the wild west in the 80s. So many patents were pushed through for so many similar technologies that the system is just a mess today. Add that to the fact that new technology is built upon the old and it's more a matter of keeping a low profile so that the groups that buy up these patents don't find you an easy target and send in their lawyers. It sounds like the patent office's solution has been to slow the whole registration process down to a crawl.

I'm glad I don't have more intimate knowledge of the whole process... it sounds ugly.

Kyle Redd
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That radio piece was "This American Life" wasn't it (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-p
atents-attack)? I listened as well and it was both entertaining and incredibly disheartening. Patent law is a complete disaster right now.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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"Apparently it was like the wild west in the 80s. So many patents were pushed through for so many similar technologies that the system is just a mess today."

This is what happens when humans compete instead of cooperating.

Todd Boyd
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"Technologies created by Worlds have helped the businesses of virtual worlds gaming and the sale of virtual goods to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry."

I think he meant to say, "vague and incomplete ideas about technologies we actually had no hand in creating whatsoever."

Jacob Crane
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All I can say is I hope they stomp them out. This needs to end now before it gets out of control. Which I guess it technically is already out of control.

Andrew Grapsas
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Please grind these guys to dust. Software patents are complete and total garbage. This is just insane.

Michael Wenk
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IP laws have their place, and yes even in software. I think what's wrong is that patent office doesn't really make sure there isn't prior art, they assume that if there is it will come out in any lawsuits. However that's broken because these companies rather throw a bit of money at the troll, than risk what a judge/jury will say.

It does need to be fixed. Fixed, not eliminated.

Duong Nguyen
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Patent Troll Activate! Powers! Nebulous Patent! Software patents are out of control. Its easier to patent software than any other form of patent since you just need some nebulous hand waving, maybe a cute diagram. In reality the Patent Office doesn't care they know it will be settled in the courts so they give all the software patents a pass..

Brandon Maynes
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The reason NC Soft "lost" is because the settlement was cheaper than the lawyer fees. So, technically they didnt lose.

If these dumb asses think that Activz will buckle for a few hundred thousand, they are sadly mistaken. I cant wait to see how this pans out.

Isaac Chandler
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I feel like these patent trolls are slowly leading to stagnation in the industry, as companies worry more and more that anything they do will lead to a lawsuit. This really needs to be fixed... like NOW!


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