Activision Blizzard set to cough up $23.4M after losing a 9-year-long patent infringement battle, but claims 'We have never used the patented technologies at issue in our games'

An orc in World of Warcraft grins greedily into a bag overflowing with gold.
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

It's a bad time to be Activision Blizzard. The publisher is set to fork out $23.4 million to tech incubator Acceleration Bay after a jury ruled that it infringed on two of the company's patents. 

According to Reuters, the patents are related to the "simultaneous sharing of information" used in multiplayer aspects of Activision Blizzard's games. Acceleration Bay originally filed the infringement complaint back in 2015, before being dismissed and refiled a year later.

While Activision Blizzard argued that any monetary damages shouldn't exceed $300,000, the jury disagreed. It ruled that the publisher owes $18 million for patent infringement in World of Warcraft, and a further $5.4 million for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Acceleration Bay lawyer Aaron Frankel said the team was "thrilled to get this case to trial after nine years," adding that it was "gratifying for Acceleration Bay to finally have had its day in court." 

Activision Blizzard was, understandably, a little less jazzed about the whole thing. In a statement to Law360, the publisher said: "While we are disappointed, we believe there is a strong basis for appeal. We have never used the patent technologies at issue in our games."

Activision Blizzard isn't the only company in Acceleration Bay's firing line—as reports, it also has infringement claims out against EA, Take-Two Interactive, and Amazon Web Services, all of which have been filed in the last five years. 

It's also not the only lawsuit Activision Blizzard has been battling in recent months. In December 2023, it settled its 2021 California civil rights suit for $54 million for claims of "frat boy" culture and a "breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women."  A month later saw a slightly different lawsuit, with a former employee filing for claims of age discrimination as a result of Bobby Kotick allegedly saying the company had "too many old white guys". 

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.