A while back I mentioned that Worlds.com had made known the intention to sue over their virtual world patents.
Now the other shoe has dropped, as Virtual Worlds News reports that they filed suit against NCSoft on Christmas Eve.
The patents in question deal with the notion of network culling on the server in 3d worlds, trimming down the set of things sent to the client based on server-side visibility algorithms.
Worlds.com really is a pioneer in the space — WorldsAway Worlds Chat being one of the early VW systems in the first half of the 90s. The earliest forms of the patents were filed in 1996, so pretty much all of the big 3d MMOs are later.
That said, there’s still plenty of earlier work done on network culling and yes, even 3d, and of course there’s a lot of money at stake, so expect a fight.