PGA Tour Sued In Patent Infringement Case

Information Images, LLC filed a complaint against PGA Tour, Inc. for patent infringement. Information Images alleged that PGA had infringed upon its patents for a system that relays sports event information to spectators of that event. The complaint was filed in the Texas Western District Court. The plaintiff is represented by Patterson & Sheridan.

The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent No. 9,806,832 (the “’832 Patent”) and U.S. Patent No. 10,270,552 (the “’552 Patent”). These patents cover “technology for the ‘gathering, processing, and distributing [of] information of a sporting event over a wireless network covering the sporting event.” These include a “system capable of gathering player and game information from a sporting event such as a golf tournament, processing that information, and broadcasting the information over a network to handheld devices carried by spectators of the sporting event.”

The patent inventor, Arthur Long, initially informed the PGA Tour about the patents to try to strike up a business deal. He later informed the PGA Tour of another patent that could be of interest to them, later, he notified them that both patents were granted. PGA Tour sent a letter to Long stating that his notice threatened the Tour and their counsel was reviewing it. Long clarified that no threats were made. Later on, Long received an email from PGA Tour that they were not interested in pursuing a business relationship with him.

Long claims that while PGA Tour did not license his patents, it did use a system and method described in both patents without “notice, authorization, or compensation to Information Images.” The plaintiff claims that the infringing products are the ShotLink system, including the ShotLink Plus, PGA Tour Mobile app, and ShotLink software.

ShotLink “comprises providing a first portable device carried by a spotter, inputting data by the spotter, transmitting input data over the wireless network to a second portable device, transmitting input data over the wireless network to a production module, and selectively displaying graphical representations of the transmitted data.” This software allegedly infringes on at least Claim 1 of the patent because it contains a “first portable device configured to be carried by a broadcast or other authorized spotter of the golf tournament, the spotter having special permitted access to a golf course of the golf tournament and to participants of the golf tournament, the first portable device including a map of the golf course, the first portable device being configured to receive input data from a spotter regarding status of a selected player’s golf ball during the golf tournament in real time.”

Information Images has sought a declaratory judgment of PGA Tour’s infringement, an order enjoining PGA Tour from further infringement, an award for damages, pre- and post-judgment interest and costs, to declare the case exception and to award the plaintiff expenses, fees, and costs, as well as other relief determined by the court.