Virtual Weaksauce

Some fool is claiming to hold a patent on all virtual gaming worlds: claims to hold a patent for the idea of virtual worlds that dates back to 1995 and that could quite literally apply to every 3-D online world currently in existence. In fact, has already taken one MMOG heavyweight to court: Korea-based NCsoft, the company behind games like Lineage and Guild Wars. And while legal expert Ben Buranske, contacted by Business Insider, says the wealth of "prior art" will make the case tough to prove,'s court of choice, the Eastern District of Texas, is notorious for handing heavy damage awards to plaintiffs in cases like this. Nintendo was recently ordered to pay $21 million in damages after a jury in the district found the company had violated 12 patents relating to its controllers held by a small Texas company called Anascape.

"Being a foreign defendant in Texas is not a pleasant thing," a lawyer familiar with the NCsoft case said. "The juries are, many would say, biased towards American plaintiffs and have a propensity to offer high damages. Some defendants might view them as an unfriendly jury and it might make the defendant more likely to settle." That could be bad news for companies like Blizzard and Linden Lab, which Kidrin says he is "absolutely" going to sue if his suit against NCsoft is successful.

Ugh. Talk about a hustle...