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Worlds.com To Extend Virtual World Lawsuit To Second Life, WoW

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the one-percent-inspiration-ninety-nine-percent-litgation dept.

The Courts 106

FiveRings writes "BusinessInsider has a story about Worlds.com, a company that inherited the patent on virtual worlds from the Starlight Starbright Foundation and is taking it to court against NCSoft over the company's various MMOs. If successful, he will press on and sue the makers of Second Life and World of Warcraft as well. The article notes that the NCSoft case is being held in east Texas, which has been a favorable venue for patent trolls in the past."

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Anonymous Coward. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27177637)

wow. i'd hate to be on the wrong end of the World of Warcraft legal team they'll hire to burn these trolls into the pavement.

Re:Anonymous Coward. (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177657)

Maybe they'll string the Worlds.com people along, making them think their going to get what they want, and then, right at the end, present something completely different that they didn't want and laugh at them as they line up to do it again.

Re:Anonymous Coward. (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177721)

I read the words 'string ... worlds' and it inspired me to make another patent. Pah it'll be useless anyways. Everyone really know that strings aren't real. They are clearly just arrays. How come I haven't heard of a char world yet *sighs in discontent*

Re:Anonymous Coward. (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179849)

Because everyone likes a good apocolypse fantasy for their favorite worlds, and being NULL terminated is just so damned boring.

Re:Anonymous Coward. (5, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177881)

New raid instance in 3.1: Fortress of Zul'Enseesoft.

In the heart of the desert wasteland of Tek Saas, the foreboding fortress looms. Balanced for teams of 10 to 25 players, this raid offers dynamic legal battles, devious new patent challenges and exciting new loot!

Example Loot:

[Attaché Case of Litigation]
Off Hand Briefcase
Increases intellect by 52
Decreases social conscience by 22
"This case looks expensive"

[The Mighty Pen]
One Hand Dagger
Increases writer's strike by 28
On use: Wraps target in red tape, immobilizing them for 4 seconds.
"This pen is very sharp."

Re:Anonymous Coward. (1)

Zephyn (415698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27182591)

[The Mighty Pen]

One Hand Dagger

Increases writer's strike by 28

On use: Wraps target in red tape, immobilizing them for 4 seconds.

"This pen is very sharp."

Looks like it's time to respec Combat Daggers again. That's better than any sword I've seen...

Re:Anonymous Coward. (0, Offtopic)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27182695)

Mutilate is still the best dagger spec (IMO). After levelling to 50 as subtlety I can't imagine going back to being so horribly combo-point poor.

That said I'm a prot warr by nature, just levelling a rogue because my warrior (who was rolled just after the first expansion purely to be a PvP character) got so thorougly screwed by Blizz that I need a new PvP character. :/

Re:Anonymous Coward. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27186675)

only a WoW nerd would miss a blatant "pen is mightier than the sword" joke and complain about class balance.

Re:Anonymous Coward. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27179621)

Unfortunately the Blizzard legal team has only proven effective when they sue innocent people with made-up evidence, and manage to snow the judge into believing that they're just defending themselves against "M4D HAXX0RZ" intent upon plundering their wholesome family entertainment.

Heh. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27177673)

I'm going to sue God because I came up with the concept of 4-dimensional space-time.

Re:Heh. (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177741)

I think there is enough "prior use" of this to invalidate your patent.

Re:Heh. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27177759)

Since when has prior use stopped a patent?

Re:Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27178535)

In America, not lately. In most of the rest of the world, thats pretty much what they're about.

Re:Heh. (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177773)

I'm going to sue God because I came up with the concept of 4-dimensional space-time.

Yeah! And when he defends himself, he'll have to say how many dimensions their really are to show the patent doesn't apply. Trick God into verifying string theory!

Re:Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27177939)

String theory predicts how many dimensions, 11?

We all know there are really 42.

Re:Heh. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27178953)

"Your honour, the defendant has failed to appear in court and there is no defense offered. I move to rule in favour of the Plaintiff."

"Granted. All of space-time up to the 4th dimension is granted to the Plaintiff, an 'Anonymous Coward'. Court adjourned.

Re:Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27180117)

I'm going to sue God because I came up with the concept of 4-dimensional space-time.

Yeah! And when he defends himself, he'll have to say how many dimensions their really are to show the patent doesn't apply. Trick God into verifying string theory!

I'm going to sue God because I came up with the concept of 4-dimensional space-time.

Yeah! And when he defends himself, he'll have to say how many dimensions their really are to show the patent doesn't apply. Trick God into verifying string theory!

lol!!!!!

Re:Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27189803)

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly disappears in a puff of logic.

Re:Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27177809)

http://www.blaxxun.com/

It was around in 1996 And it's still around. VRML worlds been them by years. Man your patent system suck shit.

Re:Heh. (1)

haggus71 (1051238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179999)

Unfortunately, God runs his organization like the mob, with his wiseguy Archangels who will burn your city to the ground if you piss him off.

Hmmm, maybe we should hope this troll sues God...

Fight fire with fire. (5, Funny)

LiquidHAL (801263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177683)

Someone needs to patent the patent troll business model and sue this guy for infringement.

Re:Fight fire with fire. (2, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177737)

I tried. I put in the forms 2 years ago now but they haven't made it through yet. The reason there are so many trolls like this is because all these patents were granted in the 70s. Nobody new can troll since the patent line is like 5years long now. Everyone is just buying worthless old companies for their patents to troll with.

Patent Acquisition and Assertion (5, Informative)

KronosReaver (932860) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177743)

Already been done.
United States Patent Application - 20080270152 - October 30, 2008
http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PG01&s1=20080270152&OS=20080270152&RS=20080270152 [uspto.gov]

Patent Acquisition and Assertion by a (Non-Inventor) First Party Against a Second Party

Abstract

Methods for a first party to acquire and assert a patent property against a second party are disclosed. The methods include obtaining an equity interest in the patent property. The methods further include writing a claim within the scope of the patent property. The claim is written to cover a product of the second party where the product includes a secret aspect. The methods further include filing the claim with a patent office. The methods sometimes include offering a license of the patent property to the second party after the patent property issues as a patent with the claim. The methods sometimes include asserting infringement of the claim by the second party after the patent property issues as a patent with the claim. The methods sometimes include negotiating a cross-license with the second party based on the assertion of infringement of the claim, where under the cross-license the first party obtains a license to an intellectual property right from the second party. The methods sometime include attempting to obtain a monetary settlement from the second party based on the assertion of infringement of the claim.

Re:Patent Acquisition and Assertion (1)

f0rtytw0 (446153) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179757)

figures... Halliburton

Re:Patent Acquisition and Assertion (2, Interesting)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27183567)

I think that Bilski [fsf.org] might have something to say about this patent. ... were this patent not (ahem) patently for entertainment only.

Re:Fight fire with fire. (1)

Knight of Shadows (1163917) | more than 5 years ago | (#27181297)

Let's just form a raiding group, and declare open season on the patent trolls. Find a few of these bastards hanging from telephone poles, and maybe they'll think twice. Personally, I'd like to see an open season on all lawyers, with no bag limit, that runs from Jan. 1 - Dec. 31. Bag a big bag o' crap today, and make the world a better place!

ITS A WHOLE NEW WORLDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27182561)

Yes, and maybe beat sentence structure and grammar into the guys behind Worlds.com

Picture very related. [imageshack.us]

Sounds like some crappy rip-off of a particular Disney animation.

Patent Trolls? (1)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177691)

Are they +5 armor Patent Trolls?

activeworlds (1)

paganizer (566360) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177697)

do these guys have anything at all to do with Ron Britvich? He could, conceivably, have some non-virtual ground to stand on.

800-pound level 80 Gorilla (4, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177699)

Blizzard makes a few handy billion per year. I imagine they could front a defense that would make the SCO epic look like a parking infringement notice.

Re:800-pound level 80 Gorilla (4, Interesting)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177893)

Blizzard makes a few handy billion per year. I imagine they could front a defense that would make the SCO epic look like a parking infringement notice.

Honestly, I doubt it. There's a reason IBM's lawyers are typically known as the Nazgul, they've got a reputation as the most dangerous lawyers money can buy so if they couldn't end it sooner and bloodier for SCO, chances are nobody could have.

Add to that the fact that this is about patents instead of copyright, which are usually much more vague in their phrasing, and you'd see that *if* they do win against NCSoft, I believe Blizzard is in for some serious pain next. The US is obssessed over protecting the concept of "IP" as of late, and it shows on both laws and judgements.

Re:800-pound level 80 Gorilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27178083)

Um, just so you know, Blizzard have NEVER lost a lawsuit. They have two juicy pieces of case law in the copyright field (Blizzard -v- bnetd and Blizzard -v- MDY, Inc.) under their belt already.

Worlds could be in trouble. Correction, they should be in trouble. Their patents may not even be valid thanks to that recent ruling. Bloody patent trolls, bloody US patent laws. Pile of crap. Promissory estoppel! You should have at least said something instead of allowing it for years to submarine it!

Re:800-pound level 80 Gorilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27179907)

They have lost a lawsuit. Look up the lawsuit by Bryan Kopp to allow him to sell his guide.

Btw, Bryan Kopp sucks and is a rip-off artist, but hey, he won against Blizzard.

Re:800-pound level 80 Gorilla (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179257)

Actually, the Nazgul have been very methodical and deliberate in the SCO proceeding, albeit in the face of epic discovery delay shenanigans. Novell's law firm Morrison and Foster (domain name - mofo.com!) have been the vicious attack dogs. Probably has to do more with strategy ("crush them into neutronium" vs. "get our money before it's gone") than capability.

Re:800-pound level 80 Gorilla (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179413)

SCO: We need all your paperwork.
IBM: You don't really mean that do you? *SMIRK*
SCO: Yes! ALL OF IT! ALL! ALL! ALL! MWAHAHAHA!

*BEEP!*BEEP!*BEEP!*BEEP!*

SCO: Uh, what are these semitrailers doing here?
IBM: Well, these ten are the first of 50 loads with all the paperwork.
SCO: Uhh...
IBM: And we'll be billing you for the time it took to compile, and the costs necessary to deliver it.
SCO: But...
IBM: Yes, we know you barely have enough to buy stuff on the value menu at Wendy's. The term used in Russia is "Toughski shitski".
SCO: DARL! FROTH AT THE MOUTH SOME MORE!

Re:800-pound level 80 Gorilla (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179733)

That's what they did to the DOJ, but is certainly not what happened with SCO.

SCO demanded (and got) their entire code repository and programmer notes for AIX and some other products going back to the dawn of time, and IBM strenuously objected as it meant thousands of lawyer- and coder-hours to detangle those repositories from others on the same system that they knew they were never going to see a dime for. Not one line of which appeared in SCO's final post-discovery complaint.

Re:800-pound level 80 Gorilla (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179995)

I know. It was merely meant as a humorous illustration.

Re:800-pound level 80 Gorilla (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179535)

I doubt it, firstly the life online thing is not assumable for games....as they would have you believe.
The patent is about living your life as you would in normal life, but in a world online shared through the internet.

How often during a day, do you stroll over the hill to that orc camp and kill a few orcs for yourself....or ride a raptor down to the sealine and then jump into the sea to the sunken ship and run into fishmen living under the sea that attack you, or even say run into a giant fel-reaver that is so massive he just walks over you....?

Ya..didn't think so, well that will probably be the defense, and should the judge actually think there is merit in this case, I would like to see where he believes that these things happen regularly in life, and how I could go about getting my hands on a bloody red dragon egg, traffic sucks to get to work every morning, I sure could use a quicker ride!

Re:800-pound level 80 Gorilla (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179543)

The Sims online would be closer to getting sued then WoW!

Re:800-pound level 80 Gorilla (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27181507)

Well, that's why I said *if* they win over NCSoft. More likely than not this will get thrown out as it deserves, perhaps after some small donations to NCSoft's legal team courtesy of Sony and Blizzard, but any argument that Blizzard could use for WoW NCSoft could use for Tabula Rasa or Guild Wars so if they lose I don't think it'll be as clear-cut for Blizzard as some people believe.

Re:800-pound level 80 Gorilla (1)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178105)

That's why it's only if they win. A precedence would have been set.

Home (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177703)

He might want to press on and sue Blizzard for WoW, but I imagine both they and Sony will have plenty to say at this initial case. Hopefully when this fails it destroys Worlds.com in the process.

Re:Home (2, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27180065)

The problem is that IP is like the One Ring. You can fight off one army of lawyers, but then many years later another picks it out of the battlefield and starts the cycle again. Like the One Ring IP always corrupts those who seek to use it. There's no "Mt. Doom" for IP to actually go to die.

Re:Home (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27180249)

Hmm, a very apt analysis, except I disagree with '''There's no "Mt. Doom" for IP to actually go to die.'''

Very Clearly, Duke Nukem Forever has found its way to Mt. Doom. :p

Re:Home (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27181555)

And actually, Mt. Doom could be personallized (?) as a time lapse after which the patent dies anyway.

Sigh (1)

templar112 (1497533) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177723)

I also hope that they'll get burned into the pavement. I understand the importance of wanting to have patents for intellectual property. However, I think you should only be able to apply for patents AFTER you have created some kind of working implementation of your idea. All these broad patents are just political bull dust.

Re:Sigh (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178827)

The patent system is being blatantly misused and judges are enforcing the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. Sadly you can only enforce the letter of the law since the spirit is open to interpretation. I'm fairly sure that most reasonable human beings would agree that patents should protect legitamite inventors and innovators from having their ideas stolen, not be used to patent basic concepts on the off chance they'll be used in the future so you can get rich, or to patent existing technology that you didn't invent but which you can show hasn't been patented. Removing prior art as a consideration by muddying the waters with (IMO irrelavent) differentiations between 2D and 3D worlds, or client/server considerations is just another step along the "fuck you justice, we have the law on our side" road.

Re:Sigh (1)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179659)

I'd agree, the 2-D to 3-D transformation is pretty insignificant in the functionality of what actually goes on. In either case, heading and location of your avatar are passed from the client to the server. The server passes your information on to others, and others back to you.

All adding a dimension does is tact on a couple extra bytes to each transfer.

Re:Sigh (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179905)

All adding a dimension does is tact on a couple extra bytes to each transfer.

And conveniently allows the patent to ignore prior art that was 2D based.

It's like me patenting exactly the same thing but stipulating that it applies to virtual reality worlds that go beyond 3D reprentations of worlds on 2D monitors. Hmmm, maybe I should do it.

Lawsuit can continue only until some local wow (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177769)

hardcores kick the brains outta the litigants and their attorneys in the first chance they get.

Re:Lawsuit can continue only until some local wow (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27179943)

They're still scheduling the raid. Remember to sign up! Plenty of DPS slots left, NCSoft will be main tank, still looking for heals.

Asking for it? (4, Insightful)

1WingedAngel (575467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177889)

IANAL, but I can't see where rattling your saber at a couple of big dogs while suing the small fish isn't begging to have some timely amicus briefs filed by the opposition.

I'm pretty sure that's why the more successful patent trolls get a bunch of smaller cases on the books as precedent before going after the guys with real money.

Oh please, lemme dream... (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178187)

Imagine this happening to WoW. Now, imagine Blizzard deciding to say "ok, we'll withdraw from the US market. Btw, dear folks who have been playing for 5+ years now and lose everything that's dear to you, THIS is the company that made us shut down. Maybe you find something creative to do with your life".

Who said mob rule has to be a bad thing?

Re:Oh please, lemme dream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27179797)

It won't happen one way or another. I doubt Activision/Blizzard will pay, deep pockets theory. Blizzard is planning another MMO, right? Do they want the leeches attaching to that too?

Financially it makes sense for them to drown this company in paperwork for years. They also probably can buy enough lawyers to put briefs in to move from that a$$hat Texas district.

Re:Oh please, lemme dream... (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#27188649)

Somehow I doubt WoW addicts will have the suitable physical characteristics to run a successful mob.

Prior art (3, Informative)

Nominar (1226732) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178219)

Patent filed in Aug 3 2000. Prior art in the form of launched MMORPGs: Dec 31 1996 The Realm Online Sep 30 1997 Ultima Online Sep ?? 1998 Lineage: The Blood Pledge Mar 16 1999 Everquest Oct 31 1999 Asheron's Call Source: http://www.mmogchart.com/analysis-and-conclusions/ [mmogchart.com]

SF (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178387)

Neuromancer 1982
Tron 1982
A Dream of Wessex 1977

Re:SF (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#27182307)

Wasn't "True Names" in 1981?

Re:Prior art (4, Informative)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178689)

Unfortunately, the creator of MMOGchart.com doesn't consider Meridian 59 worthy of mentioning, but it was launched in September, 1996.

However, the problem is that the patent is an extension of a previous patent, number 6,219,045 [google.com] , dated November 12, 1996. A proper defense would require that that you go after that patent as well, as I was told by lawyer I know. There's still prior art to be had, but it's not quite so easy to find it.

If you want to read more about the NCSoft lawsuit issues and patent problems relating to game development, I posted up about this a little while ago on my professional MMO development blog: http://www.psychochild.org/?p=540 [psychochild.org]

Have fun.

Re:Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27179393)

What about Club Caribe on QLink? 1987?

Re:Prior art (1)

Morphine007 (207082) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179525)

Quake - June 22, 1996 After reading the abstract of the patent that you linked, it seems that Quake would fit the bill nicely for prior art. /shrug IANAL and all that...

Re:Prior art (1)

anyaristow (1448609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27181351)

There's still prior art to be had, but it's not quite so easy to find it.

Persistent virtual worlds have existed since the 70's. They had a snail mail interface.

Flying Buffalo [flyingbuffalo.com]

The first multi-player play-by-mail game (probably Starweb) may not be considered persistent (it had victory conditions, and games ended), but persistent games followed. I played a game called Empyrian Challenge in the early to mid 80's. It was a large-scale, persistent game.

Playing by email was a logical extension. Playing in realtime was a logical extension. Adding 3D graphics was a logical extension (prior art: video games).

The Shadow of Yserbius (1)

JDAustin (468180) | more than 5 years ago | (#27186921)

Don't forget The Shadow of Yserbius which was on The Sierra Network/TSN. This was around in 1992.

Re:Prior art (1)

Razalhague (1497249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178699)

If we're talking about virtual worlds, shouldn't MUDs qualify as prior art?

Re:Prior art (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178739)

I believe that the patent in question specifically applies to 3d environments. However, it only describes having what is basically an IRC window in a 3d environment. Think Second Life but with walls inhibiting the freedom of movement. Now given the prior existance of IRC, MUDs, and 3D games well before this patent was filed, it should be fairly easy to see that the combination of them is obvious and thus not patentable. I'm fairly sure that most sci-fi shows involving networked computers that were made prior to the patent would also show a chatroom with a 3d environment. Hell, even Futurama did it.

Re:Prior art (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178853)

Here's some more appropriate prior art [gamasutra.com] . The article was published 20th Jan 2000 and the patent was not filed until August. I suspect that the patent was written after reading the article. The main claim of the patent is a "scalable" system because updates are not total. That is exactly what is described in that series of articles going back to the first one.

Re:Prior art (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 5 years ago | (#27180327)

MMO's where around a lot longer than the 1990's. I believe they reach back into the 1970's with text based MUD's. You can just look up Richard Bartle's [wikipedia.org] work history. He first worked on MUD1 in 1978, with MUD2 in 1980. And there was a strong case that EQ ripped off DikuMUD [wikipedia.org] which was launched in 1990.

Everything since the 1970's have just been some minor extensions of these concepts. They added some graphics, changed how the server structure worked, etc. But the 'prior art' idea of the whole thing has been around a long time.

Re:Prior art (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27182903)

The patent in question isn't dealing with MMO's in general, but MMO's that consist of 3D environments. That being said, there is still plenty of prior art to go around with this ridiculous patent.

Re:Prior art (2, Informative)

daten (575013) | more than 5 years ago | (#27183059)

The company doing the suing also launched their 3D MMO product in 1996.

Anyone else think this is amusing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27178277)

Anyone gone to StarbrightWorlds website (http://www.starbrightworld.org) and seen who sponsors the project at the moment?
Big logo on the left hand side saying Vivendi...
So let me get this straight, Worlds.com are using money from Vivendi to sue WoW made by Blizzard which is part of Activision which is part of Vivendi. If I was Vivendi I would withdraw my sponsorship/funding right about now.

PRIOR ART HERE!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27178421)

and its a book published in 1991-2 :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash [wikipedia.org]

Re:PRIOR ART HERE!!!! (1)

OldFish (1229566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27181765)

Look up "True Names" and "Neuromancer"

They're 10 years earlier than Snow Crash

3 AM........sound asleep.... (4, Funny)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178855)

I thought I had stumbled into another gamer's nightmare (I have them often)....

Lead Attorney for the Plaintiff: Your Honor, I intend to prove that NCSoft has intentionally, and willfully, violated the....

Lead Attorney for NCSoft: FUCK YOU!!

Lead Attorney for the Plaintiff: Your Honor! I must strenuously object!

Your Honor: Fuck you!

It seems one man's nightmare can be another man's wetdream......

Re:3 AM........sound asleep.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27183489)

You were asleep at 3am? You're no gamer.

Prior art? Try 1991 (2, Informative)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179283)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neverwinter_Nights_(AOL_game) [wikipedia.org]

Neverwinter Nights, the first graphical MMORPG, had all the elements most modern ones have (though far cruder of course), ran from 1991 to 1997.

There are, of course MUD's far older than that which were persistent worlds.

Re:Prior art? Try 1991 (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179479)

Neverwinter Nights, the first graphical MMORPG, had all the elements most modern ones have (though far cruder of course), ran from 1991 to 1997.

Except the ability to look up at the sky.

Re:Prior art? Try 1991 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27182821)

Screw skies, who needs them anyway?
Throwing water at people and burning trees with electricity then forcing humans to come up with names for both!

Don't get me started on those flying demons.

Re:Prior art? Try 1991 (1)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27180075)

There are, of course MUD's far older than that which were persistent worlds.

Yes, MUDs are c.1986 or so. However, the patent in question specifies 3D graphics, so MUDs per se are not prior art. They should be...I mean, I am sure I am not the only one reading Slashdot who frittered away thousands of hours on Epic and Bigboy at the end of the 80s, and more than once thinking "I wonder if there's a way for this kind of game to have graphics?" That idea probably occurred to huge numbers of MUD nerds a huge number of times. It can hardly be called an original idea by the time 2000 rolled around.

Re:Prior art? Try 1991 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27183315)

I would argue that text based MMO/MUD's would count as prior art, for they did indeed have graphics (ASCII art FTW!) And that going 3D represented a glaringly obvious step once the hardware to support it was widely available. when you only had 32 mb of ram polygons were a pipe dream, but still the dream was there.

Re:Prior art? Try 1991 (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27181937)

Compuserve had MMO games back in the '80's. Islands of Kesmai [wikipedia.org] was an RPG. It was ASCII based, but otherwise quite recognizable as a member of the the MMORPG genre.

Urrgh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27179419)

The question is, why now? Why the 2 biggest video game company? You can see here what money means to the world, for sure they want to have some warcraft gold [wowgoldfacts.com] - a profit share from Blizzard... With the number of subscribers, think about it. . how much money it is.

I'm glad they added the 2 largest. . . (2, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27182937)

I like it when companies pursuing litigation of this sort try to attack the largest companies first. Know why? Small companies will often have to settle because they can't afford to fight the suit. Once you sue the two largest vendors, suddenly there is a whole lot of money behind the defense. With Blizzard now part of the lawsuit, I suspect Worlds.com is gonna get beat down in the court room. Even if they are not, it won't be just because the defendents didn't have enough money to mount a defense. If they win, it is more likely that there was some kind of legal merit to their suit (not necessarily guaranteed, mind you, but at least the case should be rigorously challenged by decent defense lawyers).

Re:I'm glad they added the 2 largest. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27187763)

Blizzard is not part of the lawsuit. Worlds.com is stating that *if* they win against NCSoft, they will then turn their attention to Second Life and WoW.

Google asshole? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179439)

This is from worlds.com news page..

May 19, 2008, the pioneer platform in 3D virtual communities announced today the appointment of a new non-executive board member; Thomas Duterme. Mr. Duterme is currently a New Business Development Manager who assesses new business opportunities at Google. Joining Worlds' board, it is expected that he will help to drive the expansion of the Company's pioneering patented 3D technology.

this crap (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179485)

This lends so much to the idea that some things should have never been patentable in the first place. personally, virtual worlds seems like an obvious concept. hell, if you want to get picky, every fiction author creates one in one sense or another. burn down our patent system and build a new one.

Very Broad Patent (3, Insightful)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179597)

Reading their patent claims, they're patent is VERY broad and IMO pretty obvious.

It's basically saying that the client passes avatar location and heading to the server, and the server passes the info on all other nearby characters back to the clients. Thinking about the problem for a couple seconds, you should be able to determine that it MUST work this way.

Any MMO game with a central server pretty much has no option other to work this way.

------
End software patents!

Fishing... (1)

Mo0o (1499045) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179853)

http://www.wowwiki.com/Shiny_Bauble [wowwiki.com] Looks like they're fishing for money, they may need this.. Blizzard has deep pockets.

Easy money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27180269)

Anyone that has proof worlds.com is wrong can make 50,000! Details are here http://www.businessinsider.com/2009/1/50000-reward-offered-for-proof-worldscom-patent-lawsuit-is-bogus

Popular Culture (1)

OldFish (1229566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27181401)

The earliest virtual worlds I remember were described in Vernor Vinge's "True Names" and William Gibson's "Neuromancer" Don't these count as prior art? How about that silly game Adventure, sure it was only one user when I first saw it but it had other characters and action. How about email lists? Those are multi-user virtual worlds. They have their own community, libraries, written and unwritten rules. Seems like the culture itself has produced sufficient prior art to make the patent absurd.

Some of you don't realize how old Worlds.com is. (2, Informative)

daten (575013) | more than 5 years ago | (#27181823)

Worlds.com (or worlds.net) isn't a patent troll, like Caldera (who bought SCO before they started suing).

I remember participating in Worlds.com back in 1996. How many of your precious 3D MMO environments existed then?

http://web.archive.org/web/19961108105356/www.worlds.net/news/press_releases/press-101.html [archive.org]

I think many of you are reacting emotionally to any threat against your favorite current games. But please do a little research before the name calling. As much as I disagree with intellectual property and software patents, this one is at least slightly more legitimate than most.

Re:Some of you don't realize how old Worlds.com is (2, Informative)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27182129)

Holding the case in East Texas? Check.
Sat on the patent for at least five years? Check.
Suing over a patent that is obvious enough for multiple entities to independently and simultaneously develop? Check.
Testing the waters with the little guys first? Check.

Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck. Or in this case patent troll.

How much was your check for astroturfing?

Re:Some of you don't realize how old Worlds.com is (1)

daten (575013) | more than 5 years ago | (#27182969)

Holding the case in East Texas? Check.

So anyone suing over an alleged patent violation is automatically a "troll"?

Sat on the patent for at least five years? Check.

They were actively using and advancing the technology involved, I wouldn't call this "sitting on it".

Suing over a patent that is obvious enough for multiple entities to independently and simultaneously develop? Check.

I agree that most patents are bullshit for this reason. I don't know that this one is. It's easy to say after the fact, but the company doing the suing in the case is at least the first one I personally came across with the product described, making prior art a little harder to argue.

Testing the waters with the little guys first? Check.

I'll admit I don't know the legal history here, but going after the low hanging fruit first makes sense in every business I've seen. It also doesn't make the claim any less legitimate.

Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck. Or in this case patent troll.

How much was your check for astroturfing?

Silliness and name calling? I think I addressed this in my first post. I don't even know what the term astroturfing means and it doesn't sound important enough to look up. I hate all software patents. I hate patents in general, and copyright and trademarks. All I'm saying is that I see software companies in the news, suing each other every day, and this is the only time where the example I've seen appears to actually be the first person to try to sell the product suing other companies that are making money off of the same idea years later. I would save the term "patent troll" for the companies that do nothing but buy patents or buy old companies that come with intellectual property for the sole reason of suing other companies. Those type of companies contribute nothing to the field and hurt innovation without even trying to pretend that the patent system ever helped it.

Re:Some of you don't realize how old Worlds.com is (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27184421)

East Texas is patent troll central. If you need a judge that's going to side in favor of the troll, you get the case heard there. If it was a legit claim it would have been heard elsewhere.

They got the patent in 2000. The companies they are suing released their products years later. If they weren't a troll, they'd have brought it up as the projects were announced publicly or shortly after being released. Trolls wait until their victims have money and a reason to pay.

Why go after a game with ~200k subscribers when there's an even bigger infringer with 12 million subscribers? Unless you really don't have a case and you need to set precedent so a competent judge won't personally dropkick you out of the courtroom, that's why you go after the small fries first. If they had a solid case they'd be able to force Blizzard and Sony into a settlement that would be larger than all the combined assets of NCSoft.

And apparently I've found the only slashdotter with a six digit ID that doesn't know what astroturfing means and who can't be bothered to go hit up wikipedia. Either that or the check must have been worth trashing such a low ID.

Re:Some of you don't realize how old Worlds.com is (1)

daten (575013) | more than 5 years ago | (#27186485)

Thanks for taking the time to explain. That's an interesting thing to know about Texas.

In regards to wikipedia and not keeping current with the most fashionable ad hominem attacks, I don't mind not representing the majority on slashdot. The general quality of the comments hasn't been increasing over the last 10 years. Most of the time I stick to the headlines and links.

Do all of your posts end with an attempted insult?

This scares me (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27182997)

As a hobbyist game developer, this pisses me off and scares the shit out of me at the same time. If I were to ever try to join a small indie game company, or start one of my own, I would feel like every little feature, concept, algorithm, or artwork I add to a game could infringe on some vague bullshit patent, even if I came up with the idea on my own. It's assholes like these that are subduing ideas and the chances of new companies to enter the market. Fuck them.

Of Course.. (1)

Kristy Selvaggi (1500033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27185923)

Of course they go after financially hurting NCSoft to try and establish a precedent before going after the Blizzard Juggernaut. Cowards.
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