Worlds.com says they invented "System and Method for Enabling Users to Interact in a Virtual Space" in 1995 (filed in 2000, granted in 2007), and has begun shaking out 3D online vendors for realword $$$.
Head of the firm representing Worlds looks forward to much fake blood spilled in 3D courtrooms: "I think it is a very broad and robust claim, managing both bandwidth, and the display and interaction of avatars in virtual worlds and massively multiplayer games."
The American company is first lobbing its backpack of grenades and bazookas against fereigners, like Korean software companies. Which makes Dassault Systemes, in theory, a potential defender, a French company that's been pegging its future on 3D interactive CAD design and PLM control. Ouch! One hopes that prior art will rise up to defeat the evil Worlds and save Dassault and other firms.
A lawyer quoted by Virtual World News says changing your 3D system today to avoid infringing the patent helps only a little:
If you've been using the system for several years and then change it, there are potentially still several years of past damages.
Perhaps it's just as well that Autodesk dumped its virtual world software more than a decade ago.