Worlds Inc. has begun a lawsuit against World of Warcraft creator Activision Blizzard. The firm asserts that games like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty infringe on its patent regarding a "system and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space." The patent seems extremely broad, but they did manage to use it to get a settlement out of NCSoft for City of Heroes in 2010.
"Technologies created by Worlds have helped the businesses of virtual worlds gaming and the sale of virtual goods to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry," said Worlds CEO Thom Kidrin. "While we are pleased to see that the gaming industry and its rapidly growing customer base have enthusiastically embraced our patented technologies, we deserve fair compensation for their use."
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in court. If this patent is truly infringed upon by World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, I think many other games would also be considered infringing. That said, I haven't read the patent in full detail. It's scary that a patent can be this broad. It stifles innovation.