Activision Counter-Sues Worlds, Inc. Over Patent Violations
On March 30, 2012, Worlds, Inc. sued Activision over alleged patent infringement. The former accuses the later of infringing on a variety of technologies filed as "System and Method for Enabling Users to Interact in a Virtual Space."
Essentially, Worlds, Inc. is accusing Activision of violations with regard to Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Our understanding is that Worlds, Inc. is claiming that it holds the patent for the way servers and user PCs and consoles facilitate player interaction.
Today, Activision has counter-sued claiming that Worlds, Inc.'s product, Worlds Player, infringes on two of its own patents. Those are U.S. Patent No. 6,014,145 ("Navigation with optimum viewpoints in three-dimensional workspace interactive displays having three-dimensional objects with collision barriers") and 5,883,628 ("Climability: property for objects in 3-D virtual environments").
Worlds Inc.'s lawsuit is still pending.
I am going to try to make sense of this, so bear with me. Worlds Inc. appears to have sued Activision (and, oddly, no other publisher of online games that uses similar techniques to enable online play) because players can interact online. Activision has discovered that Worlds, Inc.'s Worlds Player includes features like collision detection and climbing.
Yes, it appears that these lawsuits are about running around online with other players and bumping into and climbing stuff while doing it. Sometimes the law is a funny thing.