I pretend to do stuff.
16th January 2004
Apparently the company Worlds.com Incorporated is declaring war on all MMO's in existence. This Christmas eve, they filed a lawsuit against Korean-based MMO developer NCsoft (Lineage, City of Heroes/Villains, Guild Wars and others). They base their claim off one of their patents which, in it's broadest form claims "A method for enabling a first user to interact with other users in a virtual space, wherein the first user and the other users each have an avatar and a client process associated therewith, and wherein each client process is in communication with a server process" (Patent in question).
Now I'm not a lawyer, but I see several things that are likely to go very, very wrong for Worlds.com.
1. The patent itself is too vaguely worded, and will be dismissed. 2. The patent has been filed in 2000, but only issued in 2007. Ample amounts of MMO's using this system existed prior to '07, several produced by NCsoft. 3. The "big dogs" in the MMO world (Blizzard, Vivendi, Microsoft, Sony) will likely assist NCsoft (if they have a brain), to prevent precedent. 4. After the lawsuit has been thrown out, they will be sued for slander.
Things they have on their side?
1. NCsoft itself is not one of the biggest MMO companies, and thus less likely to be able to 'defend' itself than say, Blizzard. 2. The lawsuit is issued in Texas, a state which is likely to favor 'the home team' (the American Worlds Inc) over Korean NCsoft, and deliver high settlements. 3. It might simply be more economical for NCsoft (and other companies) to settle for a licensing fee than to take the entire thing to court.
tl;dr Worlds.com is taking on the entire (virtual) world, and is trying to set a precedent for an MMO being sued for it's most basic elements.
I hate such companies that make money over stupid patents that should never have been accepted in the first place, and the dumbasses who do give them patents for such things.