Key hearing will decide major rulings issued based on the interpretation of the patents.
This is why patent laws are such a mess in the United States. Given the proper initiative, any one can be sued for just about anything. Some people buy up patents for the most obscure things and wriggle the judicial system for a chance to sue the big guys for some alleged infringement or the other.
So when the news comes that a key hearing in the case of Worlds Inc versus Activision Blizzard is set for June 27, 2013, it’s disconcerting.
The suit in question claims that World of Warcraft infringes the patents of Worlds Inc. This hearing will determine the rulings issued regarding the language and interpretation of the patents.
The kicker is that the patents filed by Worlds Inc – U.S. patents numbers 8,082,501, 7,493,558, 7,945,856 and 7,181,690 which are titled “System and Method for Enabling Users to Interact in a Virtual Space” – can easily apply to most MMOs on the market. “Three-dimensional graphical multi-user interactive virtual world systems”, claim the patents. And really, as much as you hate Activision, it’d be messed up to see Blizzard getting the shaft for it’s contributions to PC gaming.
And who’s to say if other MMOs will be safe or not?