Blizzard targeted in MMO patent dispute

WOW and Second Life next if NCsoft loses.

Confirming our suspicions, has revealed that it intends to sue Blizzard and Linden Labs if its patent suit against NCsoft is successful. has a patent that describes virtually any 3D MMO or virtual world, and dates back to the mid-1990s. It selected NCsoft as its first target for a lawsuit, but chief Thom Kidrin told the Silicon Alley Insider that he would "absolutely" pursue cases against World of Warcraft and Second Life, and any MMO operator that's not prepared to pay licensing fees.

NCsoft has likely been selected as the first target due to its US office in Austin, Texas - where as a foreign defendant in an intellectual property case, it will be at a distinct disadvantage. Even if is successful and has precedent, it may have a tougher time on Linden and Blizzard's Californian home turf.

Kidrin explained the origin of the patent: Starbirght World, a Steven Spielberg-backed charity initiative providing an online social network for seriously ill children. Starbright patents then passed from the original creators to

Sick kids and Steven Spielberg surely adds up to the ultimate smokescreen for any opportunistic lawsuit. We'll keep an eye on further developments.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Jump to comments (48)

About the author

Oli Welsh

Oli Welsh


Oli is the editor of and likes to take things one word at a time. His friends call him The European, but that's just a coincidence. He's still playing Diablo 3.


You may also enjoy...

Comments (48)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments