3D Virtual Worlds Patented! Lawsuits Started...

from the oh-come-on... dept

It seems that the ridiculous patent holders are trying to go out with a bang in 2008. Worlds.com, which holds a patent that never should have been issued on virtual worlds has sued NCSoft, makers of a bunch of popular online virtual worlds -- including some that were launched before the patent was even filed for in 2000. The Register link above shows a few examples of such virtual worlds, but you can dig back even further. In 1996 I was using OnLive! Traveler which did all of the things described in the patent described, as can be seen in the video below:
Not surprisingly, the lawsuit is actually being brought by General Patent Corp (GPC), one of a growing number of IP licensing firms who prey on companies (that actually innovate) by trying to enforce incredibly broad and highly questionable patents. Not surprisingly, GPC's execs have been active in protesting any sort of patent reform, claiming it would "mar innovation." I would suggest that patent reform is a hell of a lot less likely to mar innovation than suing innovative companies with overly broad patents that were applied for well after the technology in question was in common use.

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  1. identicon
    Overcast, 30 Dec 2008 @ 11:42am

    Looks like they're trying to lay a foundation to go after World of Warcraft.

    Maybe - too bad for them the First Warcraft game came out years before 2000.

    So did Everquest.

    So did Doom, Quake, Baldur's Gate - the list could go on for pages and pages - literally.

    Nope, sorry - try again. Virtual Worlds were around before NCSoft was even a company. And yes, all of those games could be played 'online'. Been there, done that - even before it was 'cool'. Warcraft 1 and Doom were IPX games, but could be ran over Kali on the 'net.

    Let us not forget Diablo either - really, in many ways the first true 'virtual world'.

    Blizzard was already doing this before you were even in business Mr. Kim.

    "NCsoft was originally founded in March 1997 by T.J. Kim, a business software developer and author of the Korean word processor Hangul."

    "Diablo is a dark fantasy-themed action role-playing game developed by Blizzard North and released by Blizzard Entertainment on January 2, 1997."

    "Warcraft: Orcs & Humans is a real-time strategy game, developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment in 1994"


    If one was around in those days, they may recall various MUDS and other BBS games like Legend of the Red Dragon, which were also 'online virtual worlds' - just not with all the pretty graphics.

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