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Online tournaments have become a fairly standard part of the gaming landscape, but the way that Activision Blizzard and Zynga have implemented them could land the companies in legal trouble.
According to a complaint by Walker Digital, both companies have violated a patent that the company holds. The patent in question, “Database Driven Online Distributed Tournament System,” was issued in 2002, and covers “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,” according to the filing.
Essentially, the patent covers a wide range of tournament nuts and bolts, including entry fees, databases that store player information, and how results of a tournament can affect standings in future tournaments.
The games have been named in the lawsuit (which has been posted by TechCrunch) include Activision’s 007: Quantum of Solace, Blood Stone: 007, Blur, Cabela’s North American Adventures, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: World at War, DJ Hero 2, Golden Eye 007, Soldier of Fortune: Payback, Transformers: War for Cybertron, Wolfenstein, World of Warcraft, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, and Zynga’s Fashion Wars, Mafia Wars, Pirates, Special Forces, Street Racing, Vampire Wars.
According to the suit, Walker Digital is seeking damages “in an amount that cannot presently be quantified but will be ascertained through discovery or at trial.”
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