Patents, eh? Aren't they great! In a pretty spectacular act of what looks an awful lot like patent trolling, but we're sure couldn't possibly be, Walker Digital (no relation) are suing Zynga and Activision Blizzard for creating games that use what they claim to be their distributed electronic tournaments patent. Gamasutra and TechCrunch report that the numbers they want to claim in damages are so high they haven't thought of them yet, but say they'll have finished counting by the trial.
This is the same company who a month ago filed a suit against Facebook, the site having so maliciously infringed another of Walker Digital's patents: "A system for establishing anonymous communications includes a plurality of party terminals, a plurality of requester terminals, and a central controller."
Now their latest lawsuit makes allegations against Activision Inc., Activision Publishing, Activision Blizzard, Blizzard Entertainment, and for fun, Zynga, for 24 of their products that apparently infringe their ideas. So the Modern Warfares, Golden Eye, of course World Of Warcraft, and even DJ Hero 2 are named, along with Zynga's Mafia Wars. And if this is successful, presumably every online game from every publisher in the last decade.
Walker Digital, according to their website, are discovering the DNA of new business systems. Which is quite a breakthrough in both industry and biology, and presumably means they've discovered that businesses are in fact evolved lifeforms. But someone like Activision will only go and copy this, knowing them. Any rumours that Walker Digital is the name of my robot brother are strenuously denied.
This latest patent is described as,
"A method and a system for a distributed electronic tournament system in which many remotely located players participate in a tournament through input/output devices connected to a central controller which manages the tournament."
It was filed in 2001. Let's see who can comment with the best examples of this technology before 2001. That would be mean of us. Go!