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.

The information provided in Paul Lesko's "Law of Cards" column is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered in the sports industry. This information is not intended to create any legal relationship between Paul Lesko, the Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC or any attorney and the user. Neither the transmission nor receipt of these website materials will create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the readers.

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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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