Published by LawTechie - April 23, 2012 - LawTechie

Blizzard GamesWorlds, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard over World of Warcraft and Call of Duty for violating their patent through the use of “system and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space.” World, Inc. is seeking compensation and I’m assuming some royalty agreement for the use of the patent in both games.

Game Industry International reported in 2008 World, Inc. filed a lawsuit against NCSoft for the City of Heroes in United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas. The lawsuit disclosed that NCSoft had illegally incorporated Worlds, Inc.’s product patent in its MMOG. The court later dismissed the case due to a binding settlement signed in 2010.

Comments:

Well I’m not going to call them patent trolls but they haven’t produced anything since 1995. Worlds, Inc. have been sitting on a gold mine and just waiting for the gaming industry to takeoff and are only now deciding to enforce their patent against two of the leading gaming enterprises in the world. The reason they are filing so late in the game is because a patent is only good if it can hold up to any challenges to its validity. Patents become weak unless all prior art is addressed with the USPTO. In World’s lawsuit against NCSoft, they had discovered the aforesaid. So, since then, the company has tightened up their patents by addressing the prior art at the USPTO with continuation (child) patents. Furthermore, these additional child patents will most likely present a setback for Activision and other companies who have been using these patented ideas for years, without paying royalties.

Nevertheless, Activision Blizzard will most likely bring up questions regarding the validity of the patent (rightfully so) — perhaps with an argument regarding patentability of a general concept which Worlds, Inc. seemed to state in their awarded patent or an argument regarding obviousness.

LawTechie is a blog focusing on trends in tech and digital media. Areas covered include intellectual property, cyberlaw, venture capital, transactions and litigation as they relate to the emerging sectors. The blog is edited by the firm's partner Tim Bukher with contributions from the firm's experts in their respective areas of law.

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