Last week, Brookline-based software company Worlds Inc. filed a lawsuit against Blizzard and Activision for violating their patent for creating and controlling 3D avatars in online interactive environments.
World of Warcraft and the Call of Duty games supposedly violate their patent received betwen 2007 and December of last year. One of its patent claims is as follows:
A method for operating a server to enable 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, wherein the server has a process associated therewith, and wherein each client process is in communication with the server process, comprising: (a) receiving, from each client process by the server process, data indicating a position of the avatar associated with the client process; and (b) synchronously disseminating less than all of the positions of the avatars not associated with a particular client process to each of the other client processes so that the particular client process can determine from the positions a set of avatars that are to be displayed.
Worlds Inc. launched in 1994 and “ leverages its patented proprietary technology…to offer members multi-user environments that have interactive Avatars, rich media graphics, text chat, voice-to-voice chat, video and e-commerce.”
Such claims are not only vague, but could apply to countless other games currently on the market. Regardless, Worlds Inc. is suing the two game companies for damages and fees.