ESPN Patent Infringement Suit Dropped with Prejudice

On Tuesday, January 26, 2016, sports TV giant ESPN and Suicide Fantasy Sports LLC agreed to end their lawsuit in California federal court over alleged patent violations.  Originally filed in June 2015, Suicide’s complaint claimed that one of ESPN’s fantasy sport games, the popular “Gridiron Challenge,” infringed on a 2013 patent issued to the company.  Specifically, Suicide alleged that ESPN’s feature of eliminating a fantasy player on a per week basis if already drafted by the user previously throughout the season was a novel concept…
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NFL and DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket” Subject of Antitrust Lawsuit

On Friday, October 16, 2015, five plaintiffs brought suit against the NFL, its 32 teams, DirecTV, CBS, NBC, Fox, and ESPN, alleging that current NFL broadcasting agreements violate the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The plaintiffs allege that DirecTV’s “NFL Sunday Ticket” stifles competition and unfairly raises prices. Currently, the NFL Sunday Ticket — an out-of-market sports package — is the only way for viewers to watch regular season games outside of the limited games available on CBS, NBC, Fox, NFL Network, and ESPN. This, the plaintiffs…
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A New Elimination Game: ESPN Sued Over Fantasy Sports Game

On Thursday, June 25, Suicide Fantasy Sports LLC filed a lawsuit in a California federal court over alleged patent infringement with respect to one of ESPN’s fantasy sports games.  In the complaint, Suicide alleges that ESPN’s “Gridiron Challenge” uses an elimination-based or “suicide” fantasy sports model that infringes on its patent from 2013. According to the complaint, Suicide reached out to ESPN in 2013 regarding the patent and a potential license.  ESPN declined, explaining that it would be discontinuing the elimination part of its game. …
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Bittersweet Victory: DraftKings Reaches Deal With ESPN Without Any Equity Investment

On Wednesday, June 24, fantasy sports company DraftKings Inc. reached a promotional partnership with ESPN.  DraftKings had reportedly been in talks with Walt Disney Co., ESPN’s parent company, for an equity investment earlier this year.  According to the reports from April, Disney was close to investing $250 million into DraftKings, an amount that would value the company at roughly $900 million. Although neither company would discuss how much the ESPN marketing deal was actually worth, the agreement makes DraftKings the “official fantasy sports offering” on…
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NCAA Athletes Lose the Big One: Judge Dismisses Publicity Rights Lawsuit Against Broadcasters

On Thursday, June 4, a Tennessee federal judge dismissed a putative class action filed by ten former college athletes who accused major TV broadcasters and others of improperly profiting from the use of their names and likenesses.  U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp granted a motion to dismiss with prejudice, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to prove their case under Tennessee law.  He explained that the Tennessee Personal Rights Protection Act only protects a person’s name and likeness when used in advertisements, and that Tennessee common…
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