Yahoo! Gets Fantasy Sports Software Patent

Online fantasy sports games, such as fantasy football, baseball, hockey, golf, and automobile racing, are extremely popular. In fact, this past weekend marks the start of the playoffs in my fantasy football league. Unfortunately, I did not make the playoffs this year. Darn injuries and under-performing “superstars”!!!

In any event, it is not at all uncommon to file fantasy sports related patents and patent applications. I myself have had occasion to draft a patent application (soon to be allowed) on a fantasy sports invention. So, a fantasy sports-related patent or application always grabs my attention.

If you are not familiar with fantasy sports, allow me to provide a bit of a primer. A user creates a fantasy team comprised of players that are associated with real-life players. The user’s fantasy team may compete against fantasy teams of other users, with specific scoring rules. When your player does something good, such as scores a touchdown or kicks a field goal, positive points are scored. When your player does something negative in real life, such as an fumble or throws an interception, points are subtracted.


Patent News from the Holiday Week

Last week, we in the United States celebrated the Fourth of July, which landed right in the middle of the week on Wednesday. Having a national holiday on a Wednesday typically leads to many taking vacation time and creating their own very long holiday weekend. So while you were away, or perhaps distracted by the scalding hot heat that more than half of the United States suffered from, there were a number of noteworthy patent stories. Yes, decision makers and deal makers did not take a break last week. Not by a long shot.

So while you were otherwise occupied, what did you miss? Here is a run down of five of the most noteworthy stories from last week.


1. WIPO Under Fire For Sending Computers to UN Sanctioned Countries

Earlier this year, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) came under fire for sending computers to North Korea in violation of United Nations sanctions. See WIPO Embroiled in North Korean Computer Deal. Now WIPO is under fire again. It seems they not only shipped computers to North Korea, but also shipped computers to Iran as well. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) called this latest WIPO transgression “an outrage.” The United States Department of State is attempting to work with WIPO to make sure that new procedures are put into place to ensure this never happens again.


Yahoo Threatens Facebook with Patent Infringement Claims

In one of the first patent fights within the social media arena, Yahoo claims that 10-20 of its technology patents are currently being infringed by Facebook. The New York Times DealBook reports that Yahoo has alerted Facebook that it will be forced to engage in a patent infringement lawsuit unless Facebook agrees to enter a patent licensing agreement. The patents in question cover technologies relating to advertising, the personalization of Web sites, social networking and messaging.

The company may have lost its luster in comparison to its online peers like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but Yahoo’s intellectual property may in fact be peerless. It appears that of the patents in question, some of them include one of the first patents ever awarded to Yahoo, and their patent portfolio isn’t one to just shrug off. According to IEEE Spectrum, a technology publication, it ranked Yahoo’s patent portfolio in 2011 as being the most valuable among those for communications and Internet services. (more…)

Google and Yahoo! Attack on Browser Patent, Among the Reexamination Requests Filed the Week of December 26, 2011

Here is our latest weekly installment of Reexamination Requests from Scott Daniels, of Reexamination Alert and Practice Center Contributor…

Google and Yahoo! have requested reexamination of a browser patent owned by Interval Licensing (see ex parte Request No. (3)). Interval had already sued the two companies for infringement of the patent. Google and Microsoft have requested reexamination of a patent owned by Paid Search Engine Tools for a bid management system (see inter partes Request No. (1)). As above, there is a pending infringement action regarding the patent in question.  This approach of two or more companies jointly requesting reexamination is becoming more common.

Ex parte reexamination was requested by an unidentified party against Intellect Wireless’ U.S. Patent No. 7,266,186 claiming a paging receiver and system (see ex parte Request No. (1)). Intellect Wireless has sued a number of companies – among them HTC, RIM, AT&T Mobility – for infringement of the ‘186 patent, as well as for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,310,416. HTC America filed inter partes requests against the ‘186 patent at the beginning of October, and against the ‘416 patent in November. Non-final rejections have already issued against both Intellect Wireless patents. According to HTC, the infringement action has been “effectively stayed pending a ruling” on HTC’s motion for summary judgment of inequitable conduct. The various reexaminations might have an impact on HTC’s inequitable conduct allegations.


Augme Attack on Yahoo! Streaming Media Patents among the Reexamination Requests Filed Week of 10/24/11

Here is the latest installment of Reexamination Requests from Scott Daniels, of Reexamination Alert and Practice Center Contributor…

Last week Augme upped the ante in its patent fight with Yahoo! by requesting reexamination of two Yahoo! streaming media patents (see inter partes Request Nos. ((4) & (5)).  Yahoo! has accused Augme and its partner World Talk Radio of infringing the patents by operating websites and related infrastructure that employ Augme’s “BoomBox” technology.  The accused websites are VoiceAmericaTM and World Talk RadioTM Network.

Cisco has requested reexamination of a VirnetX network protocol patent – U.S. Patent No. 7,188,180 – which is one of six VirnetX patents in litigation in the Eastern District of Texas (see inter partes Request No. (2)).  Cisco’s request follows requests from the previous week by Apple regarding two other VirnetX network protocol patents – U.S. Patent Nos. 7,418,504 and 7,921,211.  (more…)