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ActiveWorlds Inc. to sue Activision over patent infringement

Smuff April 14, 2012 User blog:Smuff

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Yes, Call of Duty appears to have attracted yet another lawsuit for Activision's legal department. On March 30, ActiveWorlds Inc., developers of the 3D virtual reality platform Active Worlds, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Activision Blizzard over the use of patented software in Activision published franchises Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.

According to Forbes, the issue is over ActiveWorlds Inc.'s US patents numbers 8,082,501, 7,493,558, 7,945,856 and 7,181,690 collectively titled “System and Method for Enabling Users to Interact in a Virtual Space,” a series of programs which, in layman's terms, "cover load balancing between the user’s PC and the host server commonly known as a client/server architecture. These methods filter the number of visible avatars on the screen at one time when there are hundreds of thousands of users online simultaneously."

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World of Warcraft and Call of Duty are allegedly breaking patent rights.

While the graphics in Active Worlds might not be that pretty, the underlying patents are indeed still property of the developer. Thom Kidrin, ActiveWorlds Inc. CEO, stated in a more recent interview with Forbes the reason for pursuing the games and why they're only choosing to do so now;

"We believe there is plentiful and strong evidence of infringement of our patents by Activision Blizzard, Inc. et al and that we have an excellent chance of success in this case...
The timing for the lawsuit was based upon the additional continuation patents that Worlds has recently received over the prior art, as well as independent analysis. We were fortunate that Max L. Tribble, lead counsel for Susman Godfrey LLP who has a stellar record for patent infringement wins against large organizations, was eager to be lead counsel on this case on a contingency basis following Susman Godfrey’s review of the patents, our history as an operating company since 1994 and other details."

For those unaware of what Active Worlds is, the game is a 3D virtual reality program where people may socialize with others while being given the opportunity build and own property. Alphaworld, one of the servers, is the biggest 3D world on the internet with an area greater than that of the state of California; an Activeworlds membership or "citizenship" is $6.95 per month.

No court date has yet been announced.


References

  1. Forbes - Worlds Inc. Explains Why Its Suing Activision Blizzard Over World Of Warcraft And Call Of Duty


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