Law of Cards: Authentication Patent Case Against MLB Ends Quickly

Law of Cards: Authentication Patent Case Against MLB Ends Quickly

As previously reported, in November, an inventor named Frederick Noyes brought a lawsuit action against Major League Baseball, alleging that the "Major League Baseball Authentication Program" infringed one of his patents.

Now, I was not overly excited with the case and predicted that, "this is a case that'll settle quickly (within six months), and confidentially."

Whelp, I got that one right. The case settled on December 14, 2012, just a month after filing.

I predicted it! But I won’t brag (too much). The case wasn't the most interesting.

Really, how can a patent case (…getting sleepy) about authenticating goods (…getting sleepier…) interest anyone other than the plaintiff and defendant? I mean, just check out this exciting hand-written flow chart from the patent.

Figure 1 from Noyes patent1 Image


The case looks to have ended confidentially, but I suspect it was a quick victory for MLB. The hint here is that Noyes dismissed the case "without prejudice."

Legal translation: Whenever I see a plaintiff dismiss a defendant from a case soon after filing and "without prejudice," I suspect the plaintiff is beating a quick retreat. Typically, if a defendant pays any money, it wants the case settled "with prejudice" so that it can't be re-filed. In other words, it wants to show something for the money paid.

Because of this, I doubt any money changed hands. Hence, I think it's a victory for MLB and the MLB Authentication Program continues unabated.

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Paul Lesko is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and the chair of its Intellectual Property Department ( Don’t hold the fact that Paul is a lawyer against him, he’s also a rabid baseball and college basketball fan, and an avid baseball card collector. Paul can be found on Twitter @Paul_Lesko and Google+.

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