BUSINESS

Game publishers face lawsuits over fantasy sports patents

TAGs: FantasySports.com, Jasmine Solana, Virtual Gaming Technologies, William Junkin

Five of the biggest names in gaming are being targeted by lawsuits involving patents for fantasy sports.

Game publishers face lawsuits over fantasy sports patentsGamespot reported that Texas-based Virtual Gaming Technologies LLC is going after game publishers in the recent weeks, alleging the companies made “substantially similar violations” regards its two patents.

Among the companies facing lawsuits are Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Take-Two, Zynga, and Konami, the gaming news outlet reported.

GameIndustry.biz was able to get ahold of copies of the complaints, in which Virtual Gaming claimed that “many of the most popular sports gaming franchises in the world are infringing on its patents covering interactive games that are based on events occurring in real time.” The company also alleged that trading fantasy sports players mid-game based on their real-world performance is also covered in one of its patents.

The patents are held by William Junkin, the chairman and CEO of FantasySports.com and considered to be a pioneer in the fantasy sports industry. Junkin, who founded a fantasy gaming league in 1990s, developed the “real-time scoring technologies” that are being used by majority of games in the same genre, according to Polygon. His patents are now owned by Virtual Gaming.

The complaints named several games as infringing on its patents, including EA’s Madden, FIFA and NHL series; Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer 2015; Take-Two’s NBA 2K15 and WWE 2K16; Zynga’s NFL Showdown; and Activision’s NASCAR The Game: Inside Line.

Virtual Games sought damages with interest in each case, according to the report.

Aside from the gaming publishers, the Texas company also filed lawsuits against daily fantasy sites DraftKings and FanDuel, DraftDay Gaming Group, and ESPN.

In total, Virtual Gaming has already filed no less than 16 lawsuits in U.S. District Courts.

It is worth noting that Virtual Gaming Technologies is still basically a brand new operation. According to the Texas Office of the Comptroller, the company only formed in the state in late September this year.

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