Fri Apr 09, 2010 @ 11:29AM PST
By Eriq Gardner
EXCLUSIVE: Major sports broadcasters shell out a lot of money to show live action. But even if a broadcaster like ESPN doesn't lock up rights to a game, it can still give fans a taste of the action by providing graphics-intensive simulations of what's happening.
But now ESPN is being sued by Texas-based DDB Technologies for infringing its patent on online game simulations. According to a federal lawsuit
filed yesterday, DDB claims that ESPN's "GameCast" violates its patent
pertaining to a computer coded description of the sub-events that constitute a game.
Interesting claim, and there's a backstory.
DDB alleges it met with representatives from ESPN in the late 1990s to discuss the technology but the Disney-owned network went ahead with GameCast without involving the tech company.
This isn't the first time that DDB has sued a major sports telecaster. In 2004, the company sued Major League Baseball
on the same grounds. That conflict seemed to culminate in a license agreement
struck between DDB and MLB two weeks ago. Perhaps the settlement was a bunt to advance DDB's lawyers to Texas court to go after the industry's self-described Worldwide Leader in sports programming.