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Walker Digital Suing Zynga, Activision Blizzard Over Gaming Tournament Patent

Walker Digital Suing Zynga, Activision Blizzard Over Gaming Tournament Patent

January 5, 2011 | By Eric Caoili

January 5, 2011 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC

Stamford-based Walker Digital, an invention firm and parent of discount airfare site, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Zynga and Activision Blizzard over a gaming patent for distributed electronic tournaments.

The claim centers on a U.S. patent for a "database driven online distributed tournament system" that was issued to Walker Digital in 2002.

The patent describes "a method and a system for a distributed electronic tournament system in which many remotely located players participate in a tournament through input/output devices connected to a central controller which manages the tournament."

That method includes steps for allowing players to participate in a tournament after paying an entry fee, storing player info from the tournament, and awarding the player a prize for their tournament performance.

It also describes steps for "determining whether the player has been qualified to advance to a subsequent game session, in which at least one player is eliminated from the previous game session".

The lawsuit alleges that Activision Inc., Activision Publishing, Activision Blizzard, Blizzard Entertainment, and Zynga have released a total of 24 products infringing on that patent, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 1 and 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: World at War, Blur, Wolfenstein, DJ Hero 2, Golden Eye 007, World of Warcraft and its expansions, Mafia Wars, and many others.

Walker Digital is seeking compensation for damages from Zynga and Activision's alleged infringements that it says "cannot presently be quantified but will be ascertained through discovery or at trial," according to a copy of the complaint filed with the Delaware U.S. District Court and posted by TechCrunch. It is requesting a trial by jury for all counts of infringement.

This complaint follows just a month after Walker Digital filed a suit against Facebook, in which it accused the site of infringing its patent on a system for users to manage and restrict the release of information about themselves or their identities to friends and strangers. The social network, which offers this feature through its user privacy settings, called the lawsuit "completely frivolous" and intends to fight it.

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