It's all fun and games until somebody files a lawsuit
A Brookline software company run out of its founder's house yesterday sued the makers of World of Warcraft and Call of Duty for patent infringement. Worlds Inc. alleges the two games violates patents it's received between 2007 and last December for creating and controlling 3D avatars in online environments. It's seeking unspecified, but not doubt large, damages and lawyer's fees.
Its most recent patent, issued Dec. 20, claims the rights to:
A method for enabling a first user to interact with other users in a virtual space, each user of the first user and the other users being associated with a three dimensional avatar representing said each user in the virtual space, the method comprising the steps of: customizing, using a processor of a client device, an avatar in response to input by the first user; receiving, by the client device, position information associated with fewer than all of the other user avatars in an interaction room of the virtual space, from a server process, wherein the client device does not receive position information of at least some avatars that fail to satisfy a participant condition imposed on avatars displayable on a client device display of the client device; determining, by the client device, a displayable set of the other user avatars associated with the client device display; and displaying, on the client device display, the displayable set of the other user avatars associated with the client device display.