ESPN's popular 'GameCast' sued for patent infringement

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ESPN's popular 'GameCast' sued for patent infringement

Fri Apr 09, 2010 @ 11:29AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Gamecast 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.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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