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Looks like the Worlds Inc v. Activision case has been dismissed, at least for now.  In an interesting development, it appears that Activision was successful in arguing that Worlds' patent attorneys did not properly claim priority to the filing date of the earliest patent in the family of patents being asserted.  Without that priority date, Worlds patents were invalid because their own products embodying the patents were released more than one year prior to the next filing date.  Worlds tried to correct the mistake by requesting a Certificate of Correction from the USPTO, which was granted on Sept. 24, 2013, but the court said that the certificate of correction was prospective only, and could not be used retroactively.  So the net result is that Worlds' patents were invalid until Sept. 24, 2013, but are valid now.  However, Worlds' case against Activision was premised on infringement occurring prior to Sept. 24, 2013, which is while the patents were invalid, so the court dismissed the lawsuit.

Interesting notes about this case:

  • Worlds Inc. can still appeal.  However, their attorneys are on contingency fee, so it might not be worth it for them at this point.
  • Worlds Inc. is free to refile the case, if it can allege infringement by Activision post-Sept. 24, 2013
  • Worlds Inc. earliest priority date is Nov. 13, 1995.  That means that its patents will likely expire around Nov. 13, 2015 (there may be some time added based on delays by the USPTO during prosecution of the patents... still need to check on that).
  • For any new case filed, the period of time for possible damages is only Sep. 24, 2013 - Nov. 13, 2015.  Not much time to rack up a huge damages award.
  • Any new case filed likely wouldn't be resolved until after the patents expires, thereby taking the threat of an injunction off the table.
Unless Worlds Inc. has other patents not in this family (which, from the USPTO assignment records, does NOT appear to be the case), then this is likely the beginning of the end for Worlds Inc.

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