It used to be that headlines like this referred to people pirating music, software, or video games. Kind of funny that this headline once again refers to REAL pirates. Not the kind with swords, but the kind with boats, and guns, and that hijack other boats on the open seas:

Pirates Take Up to $12 Billion Worth of Booty.

Just an observation...

Walker Digital, LLC, a self-professed “invention” company who claims to hold over 500 patents, has filed suit against Activision, Inc., Activision Blizzard, Inc. and Zynga, Inc. In the complaint, Walker Digital alleges that the defendants’ games infringe upon U.S. Patent No. 6,425,828, entitled “Database Driven Online Distributed Tournament System.” The patent claims priority to 1998, and its first claim reads as follows:

1. A method of conducting a distributed electronic tournament for a plurality of players, comprising:

exchanging information between a central controller and a player located remotely from the central controller, the information (i) being exchanged while the player plays a game in the tournament and (ii) influencing game play; and

storing in a database player information associated with the player, the stored player information being available for use in a subsequent tournament to influence game play of the subsequent tournament while the player is playing a subsequent game in the subsequent tournament.

The complaint alleges infringement by a litany of games, including (among others) Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (1 and 2), Call of Duty: World at War, Blur, DJ Hero 2, Cabela’s North American Adventures, and World of Warcraft (and its expansions packs), and Zynga’s Mafia Wars, Vampire Wars, Fashion Wars and Street Racing.

We’ll keep you posted on this one. The case caption is Walker Digital, LLC v. Activision et al., No. 1:11-cv-00004 (D. Del. filed Jan. 3, 2011).

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