Activision-Blizzard wins a nine year-long patent infringement lawsuit

    
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Today in “our legal system is absurdist and utterly broken probably beyond any and all hope of repair” news, Activision-Blizzard can now officially claim victory in a patent infringement lawsuit leveraged by Massachusetts-based company Worlds Incorporated. A process that took nine years to see conclude.

The argument leveraged by Worlds Inc. was that Acti-Blizz violated five held patents for a “system and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space,” specifically in World of Warcraft and Call of Duty. The judge hearing the case tossed it out, pointing to the fact that these patents were “abstract ideas” and not any actual technology according to the written ruling:

“Worlds’ asserted claims use a general-purpose computer to employ well known filtering or crowd control methods and means that ultimately use same to display graphical results and generate a view of the virtual world, none of which is inherently inventive or sufficient to ‘transform’ the claimed abstract idea into a patent-eligible application.”

The ruling ends a long tit-for-tat between the two companies, which saw Worlds Inc. get hit with a counter-suit by Acti-Blizz for the exact same thing; basically, it was a fight between two giant jerks and the larger jerk won. Or the smaller jerk, assuming Worlds Inc. is merely a patent troll. That played the long game. And lost.

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Adam Russell

I cant blame Blizzard for filing a tit-for-tat lawsuit. Any defense against a false attack is valid imo.

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Armsman

The case was filed/heard in Massachusetts, eh? I assumed something this ridiculous would have had to have been filed in Texas, as that were the majority of patent troll cases are heard (due to favorable legislation that exists in Texas for these types of claims.)

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Nick Martin

There isn’t any Texas legislation that makes it easier; patents are federal law issues. There are a number of likely reasons why it happens to go into that district, it’s more rural, smaller, and the judges there are more likely to allow trial by jury and less likely to dismiss. But it’s more of an effect of familiarity with companies and lawyers that handle these cases as much as anything.

Harry Koala
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Harry Koala

I’ve never yet seen a software patent that wasn’t an attempt to patent the blindingly obvious, often after it has been in common use for years.

Conceivably there could be valid patents for very un-obvious and powerful algorithms produced after long research, but yet seem to be vanishingly rare. And honestly, most such code is kept a closely guarded secret rather than made public with a patent.

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Khrome

While this is a fight between two bad guys, Worlds Inc is just a patent troll and nothing more. The only thing they ever produced was in essence an online only doom-clone without shooting but with chatting. It’s a much, much worse version of Second Life. It hasn’t been developed further for 25 years and has been a ghost town for 24 of those.

They hoped to, by being “technically” the first 3D MMO-like game, just rest on the patents (all of which were already out of date and invalid by the time they were filed) for their income.

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Bryan Correll

it was a fight between two giant jerks and the larger jerk won. Or the smaller jerk, assuming Worlds Inc. is merely a patent troll.

It was probably whoever jerked harder.

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Brinto Sfj

AHAHAHAHA! Nice one man! Nice one!

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Dankey Kang

“system and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space,”

Lol. That would be like FIFA trying to sue kids in a park playing football because they patented “a method for foot-based interaction with a spherical entity”

Though I’m loathe to admit it, Bobbyvision are in the right for once.