Fantasy sports is not solely fun and games, at least not for the architects of fantasy leagues. Legal issues can and do arise due to the gray area nature of fantasy sports gaming. Recently, legal issues have arisen regarding questions about patent violations. Game publishers are facing lawsuits as a result.
The entities being hit with lawsuits are not minor or bit players in the industry. A series of lawsuits are being initiated by Virtual Gaming Technologies of Texas against five huge names in the gaming world.
The whole story is being reported in detail in Gamespot.Two of the five names may prove very surprising. The giant company Konami and long-time game designer/developer Activision (via a subsidiary Blizzard) are being hit with legal papers. Some might be of the impression major companies would be able to avoid lawsuits.
In truth, the bigger the company then the bigger the target is. After all, there are more assets to be taken from a very large company.Also, legal battles against major companies do lead to news reports in all the major industry publications. Gamespot’s article ended up being picked up and summarized in a host of different online news outlets. Word spreads and this means smaller companies with fewer resources may wish to check and double-check their plans to avoid making the mistake of violating a patent. Even larger companies are likely to do this. Why waste time and money dealing with legal woes when such things could be avoided?
As for this specific suit, William Junkin – the CEO of FantasySports.com – holds the patents in question. Those who have studied the history of fantasy sports know his name. Junkin is one of the instrumental names in the founding of fantasy sports endeavors. During the early years of developing fantasy sports, he came up with the concept of “real-time scoring technology”. Wisely, this technology was patented and those patents are owned by the Virtual Gaming organization.
Concerns over intrusions and violations of those patents have led to the newly-publicized lawsuits. How the courts will rule in the matter is going to take time to reveal. Perhaps a settlement is in the works in the future. Again, the proceedings have to move forward and the results will be revealed in time.
Protecting a patent is a serious matter. What is the value of a patent if the patent holder does not do what is required to retain ownership?
Fantasy sports have grown in popularity to a degree no one expected. Many different companies are getting involved in fantasy sports play due to the huge money involved. With such expansions come issues of contention. Patents definitely can be the source of contention.