Update: Chat App Maker sues Minecraft for virtual interaction patent
Virtual chat app maker 3D Worlds Inc. sues Microsoft and Minecraft for patent infringement. The patent in question relates to a “system and method for allowing users to interact in a virtual space”.
What is that Minecraft trial about?
Worlds Inc describes itself as a “premier intellectual property developer” and licensor of the online 3D virtual world. Its most famous product is World cat, a 3D virtual chat application that allows users to talk to each other in a visual online space. In the text of the patentWorlds Inc claims that its invention provides a “highly scalable architecture for a multi-user three-dimensional graphical interactive virtual world system.” In essence, Worlds Inc is suing Minecraft because the latter allows 3D avatars to interact with each other in a virtual space.
In a press release, Worlds Inc CEO Thom Kidrin said the patent is a “fundamental building block” to the functionality and success of many 3D games that provide virtual chat rooms in which players can create games. avatars. Kidrin says Worlds Inc is “excited” by the popularity of these games, but wants to make sure Worlds Inc receives “fair compensation” for the system and method developed by the company which he says “have helped make these types of products possible ”.
If you are a longtime gamer, you are probably thinking Minecraft isn’t the only game that allows 3D avatars to interact with each other. You would of course be right in that assumption, which is why Worlds Inc also sued Activision Blizzard, probably more World of warcraft and Call of Duty. In 2015, however, the validity of Worlds Inc’s patent was challenged by Bungie, although said patent was cleared of any claims against it on this basis in January 2020. Worlds Inc has also continued Second life for similar reasons, and NCSoft, the creators of Guild wars.
Why is this trial taking place now?
You would be forgiven for thinking that Worlds Inc is essentially a patented troll – a company which actually exists to enforce patents and which does not actually contribute anything on the basis of the patent. World cat is still on active duty, though it’s undeniably a bit primitive compared to some of the games Worlds Inc has its sights set on. Minecraft has been around for several years, so it’s unclear why Worlds Inc has chosen to pursue this particular action at this time. Granted, his litigation was pending as of 2015 while his patent was under review, but before that Worlds Inc had several years to target Minecraft and never chose to do so.
We’ve reached out to several of the parties involved here for comment, including Worlds Inc, Activision Blizzard, and Microsoft. We’ll bring you more info on this story as we get it, so stay tuned.
Update: After reaching out to Worlds, Inc regarding their new Minecraft lawsuit, they responded by answering all of our questions about their current and previous litigation. The full questions and answers are listed below:
TR: How many lawsuits is World’s Inc involved in at this time in relation to this patent? What about other patents?
Worlds has 3 pending patent litigation actions: currently against Activision, Linden Labs and Microsoft. The company is analyzing additional actions.
TR: While understanding that this patent has effectively been suspended since 2015, why has no legal action been taken against Minecraft and Mojang before?
The stay of the Activision case in 2015 delayed additional litigation filings pending the outcome before the PTAB and the Federal Court of Appeal. In the end, the outcome was favorable to the Worlds and allowed the non-stay of the case against Activision and the opening of new lawsuits against Linden and Microsoft.
TR: Do you plan to continue the action against all games that offer 3D virtual chat?
As for Worlds Chat, this is the oldest 3D service since 1995.
time, we will not share possible future actions or goals. However, Worlds is happy to discuss the process it goes through to determine who might infringe, how it can infringe, and possible actions.
TR: How many licenses for their patents has World’s Inc sold?
As a social experiment, the company allowed users to create their own worlds using the Worlds toolkit available to VIP members. Over 1000 user created worlds have been created and hosted by Worlds users on their own servers.
TR: World’s Chat, apart from its patents, is it profitable for World’s inc?
The company does not scale the revenue from this service, it is a social experiment to see what users themselves create as a mirror of Internet culture.
TR: Given the pervasiveness of 3D online virtual gaming spaces and the number of lawsuits you bring, some may accuse World’s Inc of being a patent troll. What would your response be to anyone suggesting this?
Worlds refutes any claim that this is an NPE (Non-Practicing Entity) and / or Patented Troll. The fact that Worlds never acquires its patents is another element that undermines the Patent Troll accusation. Rather, Worlds patents were developed and filed with the USPTO by Worlds in 1995.
If there had ever been a true “David vs. Goliath” Internet story, Worlds is. Worlds survived Activision’s economic and legal assault for eight years and is still pursuing its infringement claim.
Worlds pioneered 3D virtual reality and came under fire for trying to protect the intellectual property he invented that was appropriated by the titans of the gaming industry without any financial compensation. The only way a small business like Worlds can get equity is through patent litigation – like Worlds did.
What do you think of Worlds Inc. Minecraft trial? What do you think of their answers to your questions? Let us know in the comments below!