Activision, Zynga Sued Over Gaming Tournaments Patent
Walker Digital, a company by Priceline.com inventor Jay Walker has this patent for online gaming tournaments. It used this patent to do Priceline.com contests. Now it’s using this patent to sue Activision, Blizzard and casual gaming powerhouse Zynga because it says they’re doing online gaming tournaments, too, and that’s infringing on Walker’s intellectual property.
Here’s a copy of the patent, which is titled Database Driven Online Distributed Tournament System and dates back from 2002. According to TechCrunch’s report, Western Digital claims the patent basically covers online matchmaking systems, it sounds like. From TechCrunch:
Walker Digital argues that this gaming patent concerns a product and method of distributed electronic tournaments for a plurality of players that exchanges information with a central controller to influence game play while a player plays in the tournament, and stores player information to influence game play in a subsequent tournament.
World of Warcraft, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Wolfenstein, and Zynga’s Mafia Wars are all mentioned in the suit. A closer look at the patent, however, makes mention of entry fees and defines the “tournaments” in question as being the kind where players pay an entry fee and can win a prize at the end: not exactly what you get when you fire up Black Ops, although Blizzard is known for putting on StarCraft II tournaments.
Walker Digital hasn’t specified how much money it wants for the suit, but I would expect it to be a lot, based on Black Ops’ sales.