Friday, April 13th 2012

Activision Blizzard Being Sued for Virtual World Infringement

ShackNews is reporting Activision Blizzard is being sued by Worlds Inc., for violating a patent on virtual worlds. The firm claims that games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft violate its patent, and are requesting "fair compensation." The patent covers a "system and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space," reports Games Industry International. That may sound broad, but the company did manage to get an undisclosed settlement out of NCSoft for City of Heroes in 2010. "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 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." No response yet from Activision Blizzard.Source: ShackNews
Add your own comment

54 Comments on Activision Blizzard Being Sued for Virtual World Infringement

#1
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
Not necessarily.
NCSoft may have just tossed out a "no contest" plea (not admitting guilt) and just paid them off to prevent further litigation costs. This would not actually be a court decided "precedence".

A/B has the money to fight, so the outcome is still up in the air from several standpoints.
Posted on Reply
#2
PopcornMachine
They should not award patents for high level design, but for things actually created. In this case code actually written. I never even heard of this company or any of it's code.

I thought that's the way it worked, or at least how it used to work.
Posted on Reply
#3
DarkMantle
TheMailMan78 said:
Ultima Online didn't come out until 1997. MUD doesn't use 3d environments. Meridian 59 might be able to make an argument but the studio no longer exists. (Archetype Interactive) Who ever owns that IP will be good shape. Other people.....not so much.
Ultima Online: Shattered Legacy was shown at the E3 Expo in May 1996.

Filing date of this patent is Nov., 1996
Posted on Reply
#4
TheMailMan78
Big Member
DarkMantle said:
Ultima Online: Shattered Legacy was shown at the E3 Expo in May 1996.

Filing date of this patent is Nov., 1996
Link to patent?

Also I just checked Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and they didnt even trademark the name until 2001.
Word Mark ULTIMA ONLINE
Goods and Services IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: entertainment services, namely, providing on-line interactive computer games to remote users. FIRST USE: 19970927. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19970927
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 76262835
Filing Date May 25, 2001
Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition January 15, 2002
Registration Number 2558688
Registration Date April 9, 2002
Owner (REGISTRANT) Electronic Arts Inc. CORPORATION DELAWARE Legal Department 209 Redwood Shores Parkway Redwood City CALIFORNIA 94065
Attorney of Record Vineeta Gajwani
Prior Registrations 1400490
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE "ONLINE" APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20110616.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20110616
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE
Thats just the name. The art will always be protected. Its the concept that isn't. If it was already filed under that description they would have never been able to patent it. That what patent lawyers are for. Ultima Online: Shattered Legacy could not hold a patent with anything close to the same description as Worlds Inc. or it never would have been filed.
Posted on Reply
#5
option350z
How does Call of Duty violate this patent?
Posted on Reply
#6
DarkMantle
TheMailMan78 said:
Link to patent?

Also I just checked Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and they didnt even trademark the name until 2001.



Thats just the name. The art will always be protected. Its the concept that isn't. If it was already filed under that description they would have never been able to patent it. That what patent lawyers are for. Ultima Online: Shattered Legacy could not hold a patent with anything close to the same description as Worlds Inc. or it never would have been filed.
Link for the patent was posted by Wiz: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect2=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PALL&RefSrch=yes&Query=PN/7181690

The problem as i see it is not if Ultima was patented or not, is that there is a case here for prior art, the game it self wasn't done in a couple of months, it took longer than that. The thing is that this Patent of Worlds inc. is almost the same thing as how Ultima online was made to work but with "three-dimensional graphical" concept. It shouldn't be about who patents what first but who did it first. but oh well, if you think its alright for a company that could have easily saw what was being done by Ultima Online(we will never know) and thought about patenting it first without doing anything and now own the whole Virtual World 3D concept then that is alright, i think is wrong. but hey, i could be wrong too. :D
Posted on Reply
#7
theoneandonlymrk
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/worlds-inc-receives-notice-allowance-125500370.html

googled intersting read with statements from them, its bullshit though if the patents just been allowed 23 feb 2012 how the hell could any of the companies have known they were infringeing??

im no patent genius but this sounds stupid, and something needs to be done about patent trolling firms and their Vague as or all encompassing patents ,its bullshit daylight robbery and its all us bottom of the ladder customers who end up paying,

sonys virtual world must also be shaking in its boots ps3 land or weva its called

worlds inc looks totally shit too DMC world my asss and no where can i see anything bar virtual people that the two share, have they added a waffle lounge to cod without me knowing


hang on a min ,theirs a lot of central server nonesense in that patent and cod afaik doesnt use that for games ,players host
Posted on Reply
#8
xenocide
The first MMO was Neverwinter Nights in 1991. That's pretty common knowledge. This is literally just a group of guys that created a very generic company name, and patented an up and coming concept so they could turn around and file patent suits when it took off. If this patent was really important they would have sued Everquest or Ultima Online years ago, or even WoW when it was first released. They sat around for 15 years, waiting, then sued NCSoft when they were in tough financial times to set a precedent before suing the biggest MMO on the market. It's textbook patent trolling.

Looking at their only product, it's not even the same concept as a concurrent 3D environment similar to WoW. You have to download separate areas and install them yourself. Another case that highlights what a joke patenting concepts is.
Posted on Reply
#9
Mindweaver
Moderato®™
I can only think of one thing.. "You Reap What You Sow". Bad Karma's a bitch..

EDIT: Look out Bethesda... Scrolls anyone?

Posted on Reply
#10
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
Bethesda lost to Mohang on the Scrolls issue.
I honestly don't think that Bethesda ever intended to win (as it was a pretty loose suit), but to have it on record that they were actively defending their IP, which is important in the event later cases come up.
Posted on Reply
#11
techtard
Just another example of how broken the patent system is.
I wonder if any white knight WoW player is going to do something drastic to protect their stomping grounds. That would be epic if there is a news story about some crazy fat guy getting arrested for driving to these guys office and beating the piss out of them while dressed in cardboard armor and weilding some type of foam weaponry.:roll:
Posted on Reply
#12
caleb
Bless america. Lucky me that scratching my itchy nuts isn't patented
Posted on Reply
#13
eidairaman1
caleb said:
Bless america. Lucky me that scratching my itchy nuts isn't patented
Erm it already is, since the beginning of the Human Race
Posted on Reply
#14
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
If the court were wise, it would throw out the patent as public domain. There are many, many MMOs inside and outside of the USA and virtual all can make the claim that they created their game without prior knowledge of Worlds Inc. technology/patent. Unless Worlds Inc. can prove the idea was stolen from them, the data is there to make it public.

Worlds Inc. would have had to been taking games to court a long time ago for their patent to stand. Even then, their patent might be seen as too broad and disallowing competition.
Posted on Reply
#15
Mindweaver
Moderato®™
Kreij said:
Bethesda lost to Mohang on the Scrolls issue.
I honestly don't think that Bethesda ever intended to win (as it was a pretty loose suit), but to have it on record that they were actively defending their IP, which is important in the event later cases come up.
Yea, I know they lost, but they still tried... And don't get me wrong I like Bethesda... I just don't want them to be successful at suing companies.. hehehe I want them to keep making great games. Activision use to be among one of my favorite gaming companies until they started becoming petty, selfish, and greedy... Now it's just about the almighty dollar.. and I know I'm preaching to the quire.. :p :toast:
Posted on Reply
#16
ensabrenoir
So.....Ford could troll the auto world if they wanted to
Posted on Reply
#17
TheMailMan78
Big Member
ensabrenoir said:
So.....Ford could troll the auto world if they wanted to
Not just the auto world. Anything thats mass produced and uses an assembly line.
Posted on Reply
#18
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Actually...it would be Peugeot (oldest car manufacturer) and meat packers (they were Ford's inspiration for the assembly line).

In order for a patent to stand, the patent holder must defend it. There's many cases where Worlds, Inc. did not making the case that it is public.
Posted on Reply
#19
rvalencia
DarkMantle said:
Ultima Online: Shattered Legacy was shown at the E3 Expo in May 1996.

Filing date of this patent is Nov., 1996
Air Warrior (online multiplayer 3D game) was released on 1986.

Air Warrior III Millennium version was published by EA.

PS; I played Air Warrior on the Commodore Amiga 500 (Rev 6A motherboard, AmigaOS/Workbench 1.3.2).

SGI Dogfight has multiplayer over UDP in 1986. SGI added IP multicast to Dogfight in 1989.
Posted on Reply
#20
AsRock
TPU addict
xenocide said:
The first MMO was Neverwinter Nights in 1991. That's pretty common knowledge. This is literally just a group of guys that created a very generic company name, and patented an up and coming concept so they could turn around and file patent suits when it took off. If this patent was really important they would have sued Everquest or Ultima Online years ago, or even WoW when it was first released. They sat around for 15 years, waiting, then sued NCSoft when they were in tough financial times to set a precedent before suing the biggest MMO on the market. It's textbook patent trolling.

Looking at their only product, it's not even the same concept as a concurrent 3D environment similar to WoW. You have to download separate areas and install them yourself. Another case that highlights what a joke patenting concepts is.
NWN MMO ?. Erm pretty sure it's a RPG usingi the D&D rules.

I think there should be a limited time to claim and some patents should not be allowed just for the sake of encouraging other companys small or large to be able to produce some thing for the market.

I bet NSoft just took it in the ass to save time and money and i bet they did not have much cash to burn either if any back then.

I hope World inc get in their ass this time around just for being morons.
Posted on Reply
#21
Moose
Perhaps I should just patent life and sue everyone in the world for living? I mean how the hell are you meant to have a virtual world thats like life if someone has patented that?
Posted on Reply
#22
Jizzler
AsRock said:
NWN MMO ?. Erm pretty sure it's a RPG usingi the D&D rules.

I think there should be a limited time to claim and some patents should not be allowed just for the sake of encouraging other companys small or large to be able to produce some thing for the market.

I bet NSoft just took it in the ass to save time and money and i bet they did not have much cash to burn either if any back then.

I hope World inc get in their ass this time around just for being morons.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neverwinter_Nights_(AOL_game)
Neverwinter Nights was the first multiplayer online role-playing game to display graphics, and ran from 1991 to 1997 on AOL.
Near the end of its run in 1997 the game had 115,000 players and typically hosted 2,000 adventurers during prime evening hours
I remember playing it! :D (only a little though... near the end)

The 2002 version by Bioware probably does not qualify as massive. It did support 96 players at any one time, which was a lot, but not massive. Battlefield 1942, released the same year, supported 64.
Posted on Reply
#23
DarkMantle
rvalencia said:
Air Warrior (online multiplayer 3D game) was released on 1986.

Air Warrior III Millennium version was published by EA.

PS; I played Air Warrior on the Commodore Amiga 500 (Rev 6A motherboard, AmigaOS/Workbench 1.3.2).

SGI Dogfight has multiplayer over UDP in 1986. SGI added IP multicast to Dogfight in 1989.
Nice!. i didn't even know about this games before, thanks for sharing the info. We learn something new every day :D
Posted on Reply
#24
Rhyseh
caleb said:
Bless america. Lucky me that scratching my itchy nuts isn't patented
Pretty sure Apple already has a patent on this.
Posted on Reply
#25
xenocide
Rhyseh said:
Pretty sure Apple already has a patent on this.
My favorite Apple Patent;

Apple
Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction-Processing Portion Of A Processor
That's right, Apple thinks they invented Undervolting... in 2008.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment