Sweepstakes Patent Company, LLC v. Burns et al. and Mosely et al.
Southern District of Florida
Case Nos. 0-14-cv-62351 and 0-14-cv-62354
In two new cases, plaintiff Sweepstakes Patent Company (SPC) accuses internet cafe service providers in Florida of infringing two patents, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,569,082 and 5,709,603. The complaint alleges that the internet cafes reward customers with contest entries for each purchase of access time, and that these contests infringe the ‘082 patent and ‘603 patent.
The ‘082 patent was filed April 6, 1995 and is generally directed to providing a player with a game piece having a destiny code. The player inputs the destiny code into a lottery game processor, and the processor provides the user with access to an interactive “lottery-type game.” The processor determines whether the user wins or loses based in part on the destiny code. The user’s actions may or may not influence whether the user wins, as well. The ‘603 patent is a continuation of the ‘082 and recites similar subject matter. Claim 10 of the ‘082 patent is referenced in the complaint and representative:
10. A lottery type game comprising:a gaming piece, said gaming piece including a code which includes data indicating whether a player wins or loses the lottery game and an amusement game, said data being unrecognizable to the player, such that the player does not know whether the player will win or lose the games prior to play of the amusement game;a processor for receiving said code input by the player prior to amusement game play;said processor generating the amusement game on a display for play by the player,said processor determining whether the player will win or lose the amusement game based upon said code; anda display for providing an indication to the player of the amusement game win or loss based upon said code.
The complaint alleges that the defendants operate or provide software for internet cafes with a sweepstakes element. Users are provided with sweepstakes entries when they purchase internet access time (though no purchase is required). A user may redeem their sweepstakes code on their terminal and be presented with a brief interactive game that lets the user know whether they have won in an exciting manner. According to the complaint, the outcome of the game (whether the user wins or loses) is determined based on the sweepstakes access code rather than just based on the way the user plays the game.
|The sweepstakes revealers of Burns et al.’s system, according to the complaint.|
It is worth noting that SPC tried to bring suit against Burns et al. earlier this year in the Middle District of Florida. The order dismissing that case revealed that inventor Kaye / SPC previously sold both patents to another company, Ingenio. As part of the transaction, Ingenio licensed the patents back to SPC. The license agreement stated that Ingenio, as licensor, must be notified of any potential patent infringement actions and must expressly provide written authorization prior to the licensee (SPC) bringing any such suit. SPC had not received written authorization in its first suit against Burns et al., and that case was dismissed in July 2014.
In the instant complaint, filed October 14, 2014, SPC alleges that is is the lawful assignee of all right, title and interest in and to the ‘082 patent and the ‘603 patent. An assignment from Ingenio to SPC was recorded with the USPTO on October 10, 2014. Thus, SPC seems to have corrected the problem with its earlier suit.
We’ll provide further updates on any interesting developments in these cases.