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Worlds.com Sues NCSoft Over MMO-Patent

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the very-bad-ideas dept.

The Courts 261

Lulfas writes "Worlds.com today sued NCSoft over its patent on a scalable virtual world, filed in 2000 and granted this February. This is a very broad base patent, and there is no reason to expect they will only sue NCSoft, when they should be able to use the same patent against other companies. 'Specifically, the suit claims that NCsoft has infringed on patent 7,181,690, "System and Method for Enabling Users to Interact in a Virtual Space" through its games, including City of Heroes, City of Villains, Dungeon Runners, Exteel, Guild Wars, Lineage, Lineage II, and Tabula Rasa.'"

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x111 1 1 11 23234 sadfasdfasfa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264237)

xadfdsfa asdfasdf as fda

Re:x111 1 1 11 23234 sadfasdfasfa (0, Troll)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264831)

Is that your answer for the FBI Code Cracking Challenge [slashdot.org] ?

Re:x111 1 1 11 23234 sadfasdfasfa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265039)

Yes.

Prior Art? (5, Insightful)

LabRat (8054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264247)

Filed in 2000? Um...shouldn't be too hard to show prior art to overturn it if the patent indeed is applicable to operating MMOs. UO and EQ for sure...probably even text-based MUDs.

Re:Prior Art? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264263)

UO's first expansion was already out before 2000 as well, so they earn the "scalable" portion as well.

Re:Prior Art? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264279)

No probably about it, you're spot on right there.

Between Meridian 59, UO, EQ Mankind, the 236423875648154166935198635162538713568653 (give or take) mud codebases both open source and proprietary ...and probably a bunch of other things i know nothing about.

Re:Prior Art? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264317)

Its not just MMOs. Quake, UT, etc all fit this description as well.

Re:Prior Art? (4, Informative)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264355)

Even some of NCSoft games are prior art to that.

But the issue is a bit irrelevant due to the fact that as stated before elsewhere VRML existed way before it.

Also "World" is a fictional MMORPG anime series and fully trademarked...

Also.. shockwave dates from 2000, and i'm sure Macromedia/Adobe will have tons of patents related with them.

*drumrolls*

That's not "irrelevant" (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265005)

since your examples are simply more instances of prior art.

Re:Prior Art? (1, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264449)

Won't matter. They chose NCSoft because they will be insolvent in February. The suit was filed now in hopes that they will end up winning by default judgement, which will give them leverage in future negotations with other victims.

There is no upside for NCSoft to fight it since any money spent is just less that can be disbursed internally. I hope other MMO publishers will pony up for NCSoft to see this suit through.

Re:Prior Art? (2, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264543)

Citation please? Because I just checked Google News and Slashdot and couldn't find any articles saying they were going out of business. I knew Tabula Rasa had to hurt but I thought the City Of franchises were doing well. So if you don't mind a link to the article saying that NCSoft will be broke in Feb please.

Re:Prior Art? - WTH? (2, Interesting)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264699)

NCSoft has Lineage and Lineage II which, though not very popular in the US, I believe are very popular in Korea (which is where NCSoft started). As the other poster in this thread commented, the City of Heroes/City of Villains game, as far as I know, is still quite popular and is making money. Sure, Tabula Rasa is being shut down, but where are you getting the idea that the whole company is going bankrupt?

Re:Prior Art? (1)

skaet (841938) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264479)

IANAL but it's hard to deny there's plenty of prior art that's for certain. Though the patent clearly states (paraphrased) "a three-dimensional graphical, multi-user world where each user executes a client to view a virtual world from the perspective of that user."

This suggests that text-based MUDs are excluded because they're not three-dimensional (although certainly graphical and multi-user in nature) and don't display the virtual world from the perspective of the user.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264979)

Just cite Snow Crash as prior art. Or even Neuromancer.

Re:Prior Art? (3, Informative)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264505)

Filed in 2000? Um...shouldn't be too hard to show prior art

Well, they filed an almost identical patent [google.com] in 1994, which shows slightly more forethought on their part. But still, I played GCP in the mid-eighties [atarimagazines.com] which covers most, if not all, of the claims.

Re:Prior Art? (2, Informative)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264523)

in 1994

Drat. 1994 should have been 1996.

Prior art from 1979 (2, Informative)

Attaturk (695988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264631)

And the first text-based multiplayer virtual world was created in 1978/1979 [livinginternet.com] by Messrs Bartle and Trubshaw. I thought everyone knew that bit of lore by now.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264747)

NCSoft might consider that the patent at hand has a terminal disclaimer filed in it referring to the patent you mentioned. While the new patent has only been issued for a year and change, one might wonder whether the doctrine of laches would apply since the PTO decided that one of the old and new patents is obvious over the other, and the patent holder neglected to sue on the basis of the older patent for 12 years or so.

Also, I think MUDs read on at least some of the claims, and at least some of the others probably won't stand up to Bilski.

I'm not a lawyer or anything, but it's just something to think about. You know, "hmmmm" and all that.

EQ might be better than UO for this one. . . (5, Informative)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264633)

If you look at the link to the actual patent, and begin reading the claims, this does not apply to the (original version of) Ultima Online, or to text muds, because the patent specifically describes a 3-dimensional graphical world as being part of the claims. UO is (or at least was, last time I played it around 2001 or 2002) 2-dimensional. Right about the time I was leaving, they introduced an expansion called Third-Dawn, which still didn't make the world truly 3D, but it did make player avatars and monsters 3D, IIRC.

EQ, as I recall, was true 3D (I only played a trial account for like 10 days once, so my memories are rather vague), so it might be a good candidate for prior art.

It should be noted that the patent does not appear to cover (I don't know for sure; I'm not a lawyer), the idea of a 3D MMO, per se, but rather a few necessary client rendering techniques (which, in reality, almost any 3D MMO would be likely to employ) for determining what other users' avatars should be displayed by the client. It appears the idea they are trying to patent is that, in a 3D world, when you turn the camera to look a given direction, you should only see some avatars, and not others (that is, only the ones in your field of view). Additionally, if there are a lot of avatars, this patent claims protection for the idea that the client can implement a maximum number of avatars to display, and to use the knowledge of the maximum number to display, combined with the position information, to determine some subset of the avatars to display (presumably the X nearest avatars, where X is the maximum number to display, though the patent doesn't specify this explicitly).

I'd be shocked if EQ and Meridian59 didn't both do these things several years before this patent app was filed.

I'd also like to point out, that the patent doesn't specify 'camera orientation' or 'client view orientation' (even though that appears to be what they are trying to cover), but rather 'avatar orientation' (which suggests to me that this patent would only apply to MMOGs where the camera orientation is locked to the avatar orientation). Based on my 3+ years of playing CoH, I can tell you that the CoH client doesn't determine which other avatars to show on screen based on the orientation of my avatar - I can spin the camera freely to point in any direction, even look completely backwards from the direction my avatar is facing, so I suspect that NCSoft could claim that as a defense, if they had to.

Also, I think they could, maybe, make a defense against claim 6 (I'm not sure though):

6. A method for enabling a plurality of users to interact in a virtual space, wherein each user has a computer associated therewith, wherein each computer has a client process associated therewith, wherein each client process has an avatar associated therewith, and wherein each client process is in communication with a server process, comprising:

        (a) monitoring, by each client process, a position of the avatar associated with the client process;

        (b) transmitting, by each client process to the server process, the position of the avatar associated with the client process;

        (c) transmitting, by the server process to each client process, the positions of less than all of the avatars that are not associated with the client process; and

        (d) determining from the positions transmitted in step (c), by each client process, a set of the avatars that are to be displayed.

Now, I could be wrong here, but I thought most client/server 3D game protocols do *not* have the clients transmit the position of the avatar to the server, which is part (b)? Don't the servers already know the position of the avatar, and the clients just send a vector, that is, a request to move a certain number of units in a particular direction, at which point the server calculates a new position from the original postion + the vector? I don't know if that is what CoH does, but I suspect that is the case (the only exception might be for the 'teleport' powers; teleportation, I suspect, basically works on an explicit location basis, so there might be some wiggle-room for Worlds.com to make a claim there, although I think a lawyer could argue that teleportation, when activated, is not the client transmitting the avatar's actual location, but instead a location which the server should move the avatar too, which might be different enough to be a handy loophole).

Re:EQ might be better than UO for this one. . . (1)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264893)

It might sound stupid, but from how you explained, it, any 3d game online would fall under this. If that is the case, what about Duke 3D and Quake 1, they are 3d, multiplayer, and your in a gaming world, and when you have 16-24 players in a game it would meet most if not all of the items in the patent ?

I would expect that in the early games, that it would of transmitted the characters position to the server (i know everquest 1 did for that matter - there was a massive exploit based off it).

Re:EQ might be better than UO for this one. . . (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264989)

ow, I could be wrong here, but I thought most client/server 3D game protocols do *not* have the clients transmit the position of the avatar to the server, which is part (b)? Don't the servers already know the position of the avatar, and the clients just send a vector, that is, a request to move a certain number of units in a particular direction, at which point the server calculates a new position from the original postion + the vector?

Generally correct. In cases where the client allows movement by mouse, the client may send to the server where it /wishes/ to be. Still not the same as described in (b).

Re:EQ might be better than UO for this one. . . (3, Insightful)

Creepy (93888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265087)

I've seen several parts of the patent that are not applicable to certain games or have prior art.

  Article 4 about determining the subset of avatars to display would absolutely not apply to Dungeon Runners or Guild Wars, which are instanced. I can't remember how Dungeon Runners did towns (I played it all of 2 hours), but GW has district maximums to never overload towns and thus never needs to use nearness to display avatars.

Patent filing is 2000, NCSoft's own Lineage was released in 1998 and is 2D (Lineage II was 2003 and true 3D).

The Realm and Meridian 59 both were true 3D and predate this patent. Several other non MMORPGs that were also 3D and had an online component also predate this patent, but don't have the nearby limiting display issue.

And yes, as parent stated, clients aren't trusted in MMORPGs, so the server handles all movement and momentum, however, I did see source for one (FOSS MMORPG) 'hint' about where the client thought it was to deal with lag issues (which may be patent infringing). From the games I've played, however, that is not the norm and you rubber band to wherever the server thinks you are. Incidentally, most I've seen wouldn't trust a game to pass a vector - just a direction and a mapping of keys and buttons. Server handles velocity and momentum as well as absolute position.

FILED in 2000, but its a continuing application (2, Interesting)

cpu_fusion (705735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264803)

From the patent itself: Related U.S. Application Data
(63) Continuation of application No. 08/747,420, filed on Nov. 12, 1996, now Pat. No. 6,219,045.

Now educate yourself on continuing patents:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuing_patent_application [wikipedia.org]

Now look at the dates for release of Ultima Online and Everquest:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultima_online [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everquest [wikipedia.org]

Also if you look at the claims for the patent it requires CLIENT software that does considerably more client-state tracking than Telnet ever did for text muds.

Re:FILED in 2000, but its a continuing application (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265037)

People around here can't even read the summary and you expect them to read claims from a patent!!!

Re:Prior Art? (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264961)

Prior Art imagining a virtual extendable world:

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson 1979

Bilski? (3, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264257)

Bilski will invalidate this extremely quickly. I guess the company suing really thought NCsoft won't figure that out, or maybe they wanted it to be invalidated that fast?

Re:Bilski? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264391)

Could just be a quickie game of 'chicken'... they likely hoped that NCSoft would rather settle out of court and 'license' the technology for less (just barely less) than it would normally cost to gear up the lawyers and take it to court (which costs in time, $$$, etc...)

This in turn would give the troll a precedent with which to go after anyone else.

*sigh* - what I wouldn't give for decent tort reform, in which any plaintiff who is a corporation or representative thereof, and loses, is forced to pay the defendant, say, 10x the legal fees of the defendant as a penalty. That, or legal fees + money originally demanded by the plaintiff (and that amount must be stated up front). It would at least cause the more idiotic amoung us to stop and think before litigating when they cannot innovate...

/P

Are you a patent attorney? (4, Interesting)

cpu_fusion (705735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264483)

Because many patent attorneys are not entirely sure WTF Bilski has actually done to software patents. And "invalidate this extremely quickly" rarely happens in patent law after a patent has been granted. There are many levels of appeals, etc.

The Bilski decision invalidated a business method patent that was so abstract it could be done in a person's head. The dicta [nonbinding precedent -- stuff unnecessary for the specific holding] of Bilski said some soothing things that made certain computer algorithms appear vulnerable.

But really, do not overestimate Bilski. And don't forget the Supreme Court hasn't yet weighed in on whether it will deny cert to Bilski ... [at least I am not aware of any denial...]

Re:Are you a patent attorney? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265057)

"... was so abstract it could be done in a person's head."

But I can filter avatars by distance and camera angle, all in my head. I just wish the avatars would stop telling me to kill patent lawyers who post on slashdot. It's driving me crazy.

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264265)

Doesn't this apply to pretty much every MMO out there? Such a waste of text. Patent should be destroyed, and whoever is worlds.com's head of legal should be punched in the face with a wrecking ball.

LambdaMOO (4, Funny)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264295)

Sorry, Xerox beat you to it. They invented everything first.

Re:LambdaMOO (3, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264487)

Xerox invents everything first.
-This idea was invented by Shampoo

...
...which caused/causes/is causing/will have caused an infinite causal regression...loop...thing...

Re:LambdaMOO (4, Funny)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264615)

Sorry that this is off topic, but Google won't give me the answer and this meme is irritating me. Who the hell is Shampoo?

Re:LambdaMOO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264669)

YOU.

Re:LambdaMOO (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264807)

Actually Xerox PARC, Alcatel and Bell Labs as well as many other labs (private and government) all over the world have contributed much to computer and telecommunication science, general science, public domain and garage tinkering before real management was replaced in the '90s by PHB's (at all levels) trying to turn a quick buck/promotion before they moved on. I think it was mostly the dot com bubble that killed off a lot of good research going on there. All of a sudden stockowners, bean counters and top managers wanted to see a huge profit similar to the .com boomers and a lot of the less profitable divisions were killed off and replaced with idiots trying to build the next best online app.

It's sad to see. I actually tried working at some of those places but they were all downsizing (like Alcatel) due to other divisions posting huge losses in what was expected to be huge but eventually never paid out.

hey guys (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264299)

I'd like a girl to eat out my asshole. Preferably Chinese, with a neatly trimmed pussy, although any asian country will do, except vietnam. I hate gooks.

Re:hey guys (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264661)

You hate them, but you want them to perform an intimate sexual act on you. You sir, have a conflicted personality and should seek professional help.

Shot down faster than you can say prior art (4, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264307)

Lol...how many MMORPG's were out before 2000.
Somewhere a NCsoft lawyer is praticing his layups while saying *swish*

It is a continuation of a 1996 patent application (2, Informative)

cpu_fusion (705735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264597)

... and you'll need to wade your way through 35 USC s102 and related case law to know whether alleged prior art defeated the novelty of this patent.

It's a crappy patent -- I hate it, it's lame, and I think it is pretty damn obvious and does not advance the art -- but as to whether there is prior art, that's another story.

[*Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, but I am a law student.]

Re:It is a continuation of a 1996 patent applicati (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265031)

you'll need to wade your way through 35 USC s102 and related case law to know whether alleged prior art defeated the novelty of this patent.

Yeah thats pretty much NCSofts job here.
How does that invalidate my *swish* ?

Re:It is a continuation of a 1996 patent applicati (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265061)

I haven't read the patent but the 1996 date will only be applicable to any parts of the claims that are supported by the specification as filed in 1996. Any new material in the claims will get the new date. But you probably knew this since you are a law student.

Use You To Teach Them to Crack Your Computer (0, Offtopic)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264311)

Heh, can't figure this one out on your own?

You don't help them violate your privacy.

Re:Use You To Teach Them to Crack Your Computer (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265081)

I'm guessing Parent was meant for this story [slashdot.org]

Correction... (5, Interesting)

aztektum (170569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264327)

It was granted in February of '07

Anyway, this takes some gigantic balls. Granted I only read the abstract, but Ultima and Everquest were active before this shit patent was even filed.

<melodramatic rant!>
Only when we can throw patent examiners in prison for such gross negligence will we have true patent reform!
</melodramatic rant!>

Re:Correction... (1)

Tottec (1118993) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264469)

It was granted in February of '07

The patent was granted May 4th 2004 per the actual patent. [uspto.gov] Reading the patent, I would think that suing Second Life would be a better match than suing MMO games. The patent refers to shared experiences and browsing. The website for the company, worlds.com, claims they launched in 1994, which predates most, if not all, MMOs. IANAL but, like others have noted, if MMOs can be sued by this patent, then all games that are not strictly single player offline games can be sued as well.

Re:Correction... (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264785)

Actually, it shouldn't (I'd say can't but you never know...). The patent is for *three dimensional* networked games.

What's bad about this patent is that it doesn't talk at all about 3D. The vast majority of the patent is talking about how to route messages to the clients (in a *very* vague way).

This is a great example of a patent that must be struck down. There are *no* details describing how they accomplish most of the claims. And even those things that have details, they are vague. For instance, they describe how a message is sent to a specific client. They simply say that they put the avatar's name in the message. That's not a method!

Correction to your Correction (4, Informative)

cpu_fusion (705735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264755)

From the patent itself: Related U.S. Application Data
(63) Continuation of application No. 08/747,420, filed on Nov. 12, 1996, now Pat. No. 6,219,045.

Now educate yourself on continuing patents:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuing_patent_application [wikipedia.org]

Now look at the dates for release of Ultima Online and Everquest:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultima_online [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everquest [wikipedia.org]

People on Slashdot discussing the Law sound as informed as your average senior citizen would sound on here discussing tech. "I PUT THE ETHERNET INTO THE HARD DRIVE WHY DOESN'T MY AOL WORK?!"

There's a reason why people spend three years of their life in law school. It's not for their health.

Re:Correction to your Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264827)

CONTINUED = invalidated if the state of the art eclipses the parts they add in the continuation.

Not to mention the "obviousness" etc to practitioners, etc.

Patent clerk was an idiot on this one, and patent law (with the continuation crap) allowed it to be abused.

The patent (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264347)

On Google Patent Search: 7,181,690 [google.com] .

IANAL. I think I can summarize the patent like this: a system which displays the player's avatar and a limited number of other players' avatar based on virtual presence, plus the server software which tells the client what to display.

I would think that depending on the interpretation of "display", this patent could be invalidated by any text-based MUD. I could easily display the location of other players avatars, and I'm sure there's a MUD out there which could render the character's image in ASCII text.

Re:The patent (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264685)

Prior art would be Conquest and similar games: 2D space-war simulators with multiple players. Central server, each player ran a client that talked to the server, players could join or leave a game and the game would add or remove their units from the universe. Display was rather primitive seeing as it ran on ASCII-text terminals connected to the computer through serial ports, but it did all the basics. The only thing it didn't do was use a cluster of servers, and see KSR Teleflex for that. Clustering was well-known even way back then, and applying the well-known principles of clustering servers to create a cluster of servers for a game falls under the heading of an obvious combination if there ever was one.

Habitat was early with graphical Avatars, etc. (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264761)

Going only on your description, I'd say Habitat [fudco.com] for sure.

Blizzard. (4, Funny)

Thalagyrt (851883) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264367)

If only they had tried to go after Blizzard... Worlds.com would have had their patent invalidated in a very epic way, if you will. :P

Re:Blizzard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264395)

I wish they would go after Blizzard. I hope Worlds.com drops something epic when they're looted.

Re:Blizzard. (2, Funny)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264541)

I didn't realize Arthas dropped this patent!

Re:Blizzard. (2, Funny)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264927)

It's a quest item, not a drop.

Re:Blizzard. (1)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264909)

Ya blizzards laywer team could go on one of them rare 25 man raids :P

Early 90's - DIVE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264413)

Hmm... Seems like DIVE [sics.se] "http://sics.se/dive" did all this as early as the early to mid 90s.

Obligatory IANAL but... (2, Informative)

Draconi (38078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264417)

Yeah, prior art?

UO began development before the first patent was filed, was publicly demonstrated technology, and pretty much already did everything mentioned between the two patents.

Obvious point being that UO is a 2D game - or is it? It has three directions of movement, but is merely rendered in military projection by the client. As far as the server goes, every avatar is represented by an X, Y, Z coordinate set.

Draw shortcuts/prioritization by proximity, amount of other avatars/mobiles on screen? Yep.

Scalable server architecture? Yep.

Chat system? Yep.

Stable? So much so that UO is now the longest continually running MMO.

This isn't to mention Meridian 59, or the *other* MMO forerunners that already qualified for the title of 3D virtual world and were in public release before the first patent was filed.

Could someone illuminate what parts of the patent are *not* prior art from the earliest MMOs?

Re:Obligatory IANAL but... (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264751)

Having read the patent summary it would appear that multiplayer games like DOOM back in '93 would count as prior art. It's graphical, your space marine is your avatar, and the server handles movement. Or better yet I recall playing multiplayer Crossfire [wikipedia.org] back in '93 also.

What a bunch of Crap! (0, Troll)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264433)

I am so tired of reading about these Patent Troll turds. Let's just pile these guys in with the likes of SCO and Rambus.

People with this mentality come from the non-branching family trees of the ones who also try to enFORCE DRM on the world.
Isn't there a joke in here about a ship containing 1000 (Patent) Lawyers on the bottom of the ocean?...
('Bout time for a ship containing 1000 Patent Examiners to sink also...) Now get off my lawn!

Sounds a Lot Like (4, Funny)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264503)

Sounds a lot like my patent, "System and Method for Allowing People to Talk." Perhaps we should get all our lawyers together for a barbeque or something.

M

Re:Sounds a Lot Like (2, Funny)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264787)

Mmm...barbeque'd lawyers.

Re:Sounds a Lot Like (1)

EvilDrMike (1342519) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265083)

Sounds like you are infringing my patent "System or Method" I'll get my lawyers to call your lawyers and see if we can work out some sort of crippling licensing agreement.
EDM

dumb shit (2, Informative)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264509)

This is the dumbest most unprofessional patent I have ever seen.

Theres even a kids drawing in the patent. [google.com]

Re:dumb shit (-1, Troll)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264537)

Sorry to reply to myself, however..

Here's the patent author's website..

http://leahy.to/publications.html [leahy.to]

and here is his address, phone number, etc.

David J. Leahy, Ph.D.
111 Ramona Road
Portola Valley, CA 94028

925-200-5968
leahy@leahy.to

Please, someone burn this fuckers house down. What an asshole.

Re:dumb shit (3, Insightful)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264599)

Seriously... its people like you that give everyone else a bad name... if you have something constructive to add (yes his address and such might be useful for a reasonable campaign, if it is indeed the correct address and your not just an asshat trying to fuck with someone else...) great, but then you wish arson on the guy, it makes anything you just said totally invalid,.

Re:dumb shit (-1, Flamebait)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264619)

Too bad you're too lazy to even check for yourself on the website I gave you.

If you're too lazy to even check to facts I gave you then I think you shouldn't be giving me a lecture on asshattery.

Re:dumb shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264655)

uhh, that doesn't make any sense.

If I said "water is wet and you are a retard" it does not make what I said about water invalid. You do realise that people can make a point and still be a dick right? That doesn't make a point invalid though.

In fact, I'd argue that you're just trying to ignore the facts because you don't have a point yourself.

Re:dumb shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264801)

I don't see why wishing the dudes house to be burned down invalidates the point being made. Could you explain that?

Re:dumb shit (3, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264793)

Please, someone burn this fuckers house down. What an asshole.

As satisfying as this must have been to write, it was very poorly considered (unless you are outside of the reach of US law enforcement). Free speech doesn't include declaring a target and asking people to burn their house down.

And seriously, the whole internet witch hunt thing is seriously lame. I've seen too many of these moronic quests with a bunch of intertards chasing after often wrongly targeted people because they think it's giving them some mission in life.

The guy wrote a patent. Big shit. He was probably some working stiff working for the man filling out his TPS patent submission, and the company was only working within the idiotic allowances provided to them by the completely retarded patent system. As the old saying goes, don't hate the player, hate the game. It is entirely true.

Though this whole story has given me great joy remembering spending a couple of night trolling Worlds Apart or whatever they called it. It was remarkable how much you could piss people off standing between their virtual avatar and some crud avatar they are conversing with. I guess they really needed the eye contact.

Re:dumb shit (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264885)

The guy wrote a patent. Big shit.

He filed a patent on what he knew was prior art. At worse it was a seriously unethical thing to do, however you seem to think that it's ok because he was part of a big company therefore he's not responsible.

Just because he "got away with it" due to the naivety of the patent office doesn't make it any less wrong what he has done.

The first step to changing the software patent system is to punish the writers of these troll patents. People will think twice before ruining their creditability by trying to get a patent on prior art.

Re:dumb shit (1)

Bidzou (1441165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264613)

This is the dumbest most unprofessional patent I have ever seen.

Theres even a kids drawing in the patent. [google.com]

Have you noticed the titlebar? Holy shit, they have balls of steel for making an MMO on Windows 3.1!!

Re:dumb shit (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264739)

Ahhh Penguinus Online. I played it back in the '00s, but the PvP was just not there. Worst of all people could camp your fishing spots and there was nothing you could do about it! Damn carebear MMO.

Re:dumb shit (1)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264741)

Actually, Leahy does have an impressive resume though: http://leahy.to/daveleahy06.html [leahy.to]

LOL... liked the part where he described himself in his background paragraph as "Sharper than a brass tack." We shall see...

Re:dumb shit (1)

keatonguy (1001680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264995)

Hm, the interface looks almost identical to Furcadia, save for the true 3D world.

Re:dumb shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265051)

I sense an upcoming lawsuit from Pokey the Penguin [yellow5.com] .

What about all the other little kids? (1)

lordSaurontheGreat (898628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264571)

What about all the other little boys and girls that never got sued this Christmas?

EVE Online
Second Life
Diablo
Hellgate: London

Furthermore, I feel somewhat constrained to point out that they're suing over the "scalable virtual world" patent. World of Warcraft is anything but scalable! There are so many shards - more than 1,500 in North America alone by last count - that it's not as much scalable as it is "add another server Bob, they're lagging again and we need to put the newcomers on another shard!"

Of course, two sufficiently incompetent lawyers could conceivably argue their way into inventing the Internet from this starting topic, but you get my point.

Re:What about all the other little kids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264819)

wow is for fags and people who steal their user names off of tolkien should be ashamed of themselves.

System and Method for Enabling Users... (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264573)

"System and Method for Enabling Users to Interact in a Virtual Space"

I'd say this predates the computer... tabletop wargames have been played at least since the 1700s in order to model military strategy. and i'm sure there's probably older examples that would fit that tagline.

Patent fails the test. (2, Informative)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264575)

The Supreme Court, however, has enunciated a definitive test to determine
whether a process claim is tailored narrowly enough to encompass only a particular
application of a fundamental principle rather than to pre-empt the principle itself. A
claimed process is surely patent-eligible under  101 if: (1) it is tied to a particular
machine or apparatus, or (2) it transforms a particular article into a different state or
thing.

http://ipwatchdog.com/cases/bilski.pdf [ipwatchdog.com]

Lets all work to invalidate frivolous software patents.

Re:Patent fails the test. (1)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265093)

Why?

I do believe that is the job for the patent office.

After all they already have received payment for it! ;)

Why they chose NCSoft (2, Insightful)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264617)

NCSoft has been in a lot of trouble lately, with the recent loss of their founder, and closing T-Rasa. The company seems to be in some sort of free fall. These vultures are simply targeting the weakest in the pack, hoping to gain a few quick bucks before going after the big guys.

Re:Why they chose NCSoft (2, Insightful)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264781)

They chose NCSoft because their alternatives are Sony who probably have an entire building full of high priced land sharks avaiable for their defense, or going after WoW which generates enough revenue to purchase a couple of congress critters.

Patent trolling either company isn't for the faint of heart and you'd have to be damned sure you had a convincing case to try either.

NCSoft by comparison was one of the weakest of the pack(not in terms of quality of MMO's or anything like that, merely in terms of how suicidal it would be to sue them) well before their recent troubles.

Re:Why they chose NCSoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264917)

Don't forget: they're probably hoping to establish precedent with a weak opponent before going after the 800lb gorillas of MMO games.

Re:Why they chose NCSoft (1)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264955)

While True, you might find the big players might pitch in, to stop predent from kicking in, no matter how big you are, that stuff is tocix...

Re:Why they chose NCSoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264967)

You are aware that you are talking about NCSoft's US division, while NCSoft Korea (the mother company which developed games like Lineage and Lineage II) is still doing EXTREMELY well, with subscriber numbers for their online games which are second only to WoW?

i should sue obama (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264627)

over my patent of playing the race card to win an election.

boycott (1)

iphorde (566315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264651)

If this is how game companies are going to act I call for a full out boycott of Worlds.com.

city of heroes architect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264689)

city of heroes mission architect is what is infringing.

RCA had this in the 1980s (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264839)

Back in the 1980s one thing RCA Aerospace & Defense did was 3d simulators used for military training. The machines were huge, but were designed for, and provided, scalable 3d worlds with which trainees interacted in real time. The Florida operations were the location where this was; I remember visiting there and seeing demos.

Only in america ... (2, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264845)

legal and patent system can be THIS exploited.

those people very well know that prior art can be proven against them. but, they are taking an opportunity.

the same environment which allowed finance companies to make a total wreck of economy, bolsters such opportunism. these people produce nothing, provide nothing for betterment of society or mankind, serve nothing to nobody. instead, they exploit.

you people really need to overhaul your entire country.

Still confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264847)

Could someone explain what the patent is about in a more clear fashion...say using an automotive metaphor?

Tribes / Garagegames TGE should be prior art (1)

pfrCalif (819380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26264913)

From working with the Torque Game Engine a while back - which was based on the Tribes engine (I think originally from 1998 but I might be wrong) - I think TGE works exactly like this in multiplayer mode. There's a central server that controls object position/etc so even if it's not a traditional MMO framework I think it fit's the bill.

DIVE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264941)

DIVE [sics.se] seems to have done all this as early as 1993.

After going to the site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26264953)

Considering half the content posted there is about the legalities and the rest of it appears to be a poorly implemented cathouse-in-3D -- if the lawyers won't bury this, the players should just on a premise of how crap-tastic worlds.com's website is.

I am so cunfused (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265035)

I just started a new Website for my new Network Marketing Health Product, Enlyten [enlytenstrips.org]

As any new site, I need links in and out. My concern is when I am linking out, do I need to be concerned with folks who use rel="nofollow". And will that really help them to get credit for the out link, but does not delute thier pagerank?

Thanks,
Brian Fitzgerald
http://www.enlytenstrips.org

They're a Joke! (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265059)

These folks are one big joke. I'd almost suggest going to their site to laugh at them but that'd give them the attention that they're looking for. They're essentially a DOT COM era virtual worlds company that some how managed to snag Spielberg, Bowie, Compaq and a couple other folks to toss them a combined $22M. The net result was a patent app and a really, really lame 3D engine. I don't know how they managed, but some how they were able to hang on to enough of that venture capital to retain intellectual property law firm, Lerner David Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik LLP (LDLKM), to enforce Worlds' recently granted patents.

Port 80? (1)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265069)

I don't know but do any of NCSoft games actually communicate with the servers thru port 80 as the patent states?

And with http protocols?

I've huge doubts.

Actually making a game like the patent specifies would be:

a) Lag feast;
b) Completly void of security; ;)

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