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Activision Blizzard Owes $23 Million Over Multiplayer Patent Infringements For Call Of Duty, WoW

A jury in federal court rules that Activision Blizzard infringed on patents for multiplayer features in Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.


One of the primary reasons Microsoft purchased Activision Blizzard last year was because it's the company behind some of the biggest video game franchises, including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. But now, those franchises are the reason behind a hefty fine for the company. Via Reuters, a federal jury in Delaware has ruled that Activision Blizzard violated patents held by a company called Acceleration Bay relating to multiplayer features in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and World of Warcraft. The jury also decided that Activision Blizzard owes $23.4 million in damages.

The two patents in question are related to technology that allows "simultaneous sharing of information" online between "widely distributed" computers, which is a core feature in many of Activision Blizzard's games. The patents were originally held by Boeing before they were acquired by Acceleration Bay. In court, Activision Blizzard's lawyers unsuccessfully argued that the technology the company uses in its games works differently than the technology covered by Acceleration Bay's patents. The jury disagreed, and ruled that Activision Blizzard owes $5.4 million for the Call of Duty games that infringed on the patents, and $18 million for World of Warcraft.

In a statement to the press, Activision Blizzard expressed its intention to appeal the ruling.

"While we are disappointed, we believe there is a strong basis for appeal. We have never used the patented technologies at issue in our games."

There is always the possibility that the case could be settled out of court before an appeal can begin. However, Activision's legal filings note that any damages from any potential infringement should be limited to $300,000 or less, which suggests that the two sides are far apart on what the final amount may be.

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