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3-12-2009 @ 8:07AM
Having negotiated and counter-written Non-Disclosure Agreements, studied and written papers on Copyright and digital products, and consulted pro bono for some U.S. patent search agents, I can say prior art pretty much equals 'STFU'. In fact, some of the patent claims specifically do not apply to WoW:#6219045 1. This line item specifically mentions limiting displayed avatars in the world, I believe anyone who has played Wintergrasp knows that WoW does not limit displayed avatars beyond a maximum nunmber, resulting in incredible lag and server crashes. 2. 3. and 4. are methods of computing 1., already mentioned. 5. Many elements here are actually too broadly worded to argue efficiently and collide heavily with prior art. items (a)-(b) Nearly any undergraduate CompSci major could easily argue the meaning of 'object' well out of reach of this patent, as the word is not defined in the patent. The difficulty would be in trying to show the ontological concept of an code/action 'object' that Words, Inc. patented is the same thing that Blizzard coded. While simple arguments exist here, to prove it, many, many arguments can be made to break it. item (c) describes any Internetworked client/server item (h) in fact describes in general nearly any 3D digital display, which certainly existed before this patent. .. and so on. I don't think this patent poses any threat.#71816901. This item suffers the same problem as the first item in the above patent, WoW is not inherently scalable based on coded avatar maximums. WoW can and does crash because of this.2. 3. 4. 5. addresses 1.7. depends on throttling of user position information, which WoW doesn't seem to do.8. addresses 7.9 through 20 might collide with prior art based on the definition of 'virtual space'. If 'virtual space' is definited to be, in short, a graphical representation of client's avatars as displayed on client machines and as determined by a central server, then there is prior art reaching back a decade or more, specifically BBS online games. Based on this really, really quick read with no actual information about Blizzard's coding practices... I think this suit is really just a wide troll hoping to force some settlement somewhere. It doesn't seem to have much traction. The really key element where there is much innovation is in the scalability aspect of limiting displayed avatars, but in my experience (and not knowledge, there is a difference), it seems WoW does not do that. They gain scalability though partitioning the world (instances, areas, realms), through hardware loading and coding practices other than limiting on-screen displayed avatars. Many of the other claims are downright laughable, and based on the date of issuance possibly even woefully negligent in prior art search.
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