LottoTron, Inc. v. Morris Mohawk Gaming Group
United States District Court for D. N.J.
Case No. 2:09-cv-03811-FSH-MAS, Filed July 31, 2009

Case Update:

Pursuant to a request by the plaintiff, this case was dismissed with prejudice on December 9, 2009, under FRCP 41(a)(1). Rule 41(a)(1) allows for the plaintiff to dismiss an action without a court order by filing a notice of dismissal before the opposing party serves either an answer or a motion for summary judgment. In this case Morris Mohawk had not responded to LottoTron’s suit with any court filings before LottoTron filed the voluntary dismissal. Based on the amount of time between the lawsuit being filed and dismissed, the parties likely started settlement discussions immediately after the case was filed, and LottoTron kept agreeing to delay the deadline for Morris to file its Answer to the Complaint in view of ongoing settlement discussions.

Original Post:

LottoTron is a New Jersey corporation and owner of U.S. Patent No. 5,921,865. Approved in 1999, the ‘865 patent is for a “computerized lottery wagering system.” The patent claims a method of remotely enrolling a subscriber and taking wagers for different lottery games via phone or Internet. Here is a representative claim:

1. A wagering system for automatically accepting wagers comprising: a) communications means for receiving communications from subscribers, said communications means including computer means and a wireless link; b) message means connected to said communications means for receiving the incoming
communications routed from said communication means and for providing a series of messages requesting subscriber information particular to one of the plurality of wagering formats; and c) computer means having storage means connected to said message means for receiving and storing said subscriber wagering information, and assigning a reference number to a wager.

In 2007, MMGG signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Bodog, making it the sole operator of the Bodog online gaming brand in North America. Bodog “is one of the world’s most successful and well-established digital entertainment and online gaming giants.”

In the complaint, LottoTron alleges that MMGG’s operation of the website, which allows users to place online wagers, amounts to patent infringement. LottoTron also alleges that MMGG has “induced and contributed to the infringement of the claims of the ‘865 patent by others.” For relief, LottoTron is seeking monetary damages and an injunction to prevent future infringement of its patent.

LottoTron has initiated similar lawsuits over the past few years. In 2005, LottoTron alleged GTech Corp. infringed the same ‘865 patent with its eCheck system which allowed consumers who bought a lottery ticket at a retail location to check online whether they had won. LottoTron, Inc. v. GTech Corp., Case No. 3:05-cv-0462-FLW-JJH (D. N.J. 2008). The court in that case granted summary judgment of non-infringement to GTech because the lottery results were predetermined at the time of the ticket purchase and the consumers had to return to the retail location to collect any winnings. In October of 2007, LottoTron filed a complaint against Microsoft but then voluntarily dismissed the suit in November 2007. LottoTron, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., Case No. 3:07-cv-05085-FLW-JJH (D. N.J. 2007). In that suit, LottoTron alleged that Microsoft infringed on its “Computerized lottery wagering system” patents with its MSN website that offered multiple-game, online-gaming online poker and casino games. LottoTron similarly sued PokerStars in September of 2008 for infringing the ‘865 patent through its operation of its “on-line, interactive gaming website.” LottoTron v. Rational Poker School Ltd. d/b/a PokerStars, Case No. 2:08-cv-04874-WJM-MF (D. N.J. 2008).

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