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Fox Sued for Patent Infringement When Scheduling NFL Broadcasts – Sportico.com


A latest federal lawsuit accuses Fox of infringing patents for predictive analytics tools used to optimize its NFL schedule. 

On Nov. 29, Recentive Analytics sued Fox in a Delaware federal court, arguing the network “directly infringes” Recentive’s patents by deploying a mapping tool that “creates a schedule of events for content that happens at discrete time slots (e.g., NFL Sunday games at 1 p.m. ET and 4 p.m. ET) for a plurality of cities.” 

Based in Massachusetts, Recentive offers analytics platforms to TV networks, leagues, teams and live entertainment corporations, which use those platforms to make predictions and adjust resources. The NFL, as an illustration, has spent years getting smarter about which games it airs during which markets, and it has credited Recentive’s technology with helping it achieve this. Several teams and schools use one other Recentive platform to predict demand for season tickets. Earlier this 12 months, Recentive entered a joint partnership with Elevate Sports Ventures to expand its footprint.

Fox, Recentive claims, became “aware of and had access to” Recentive’s “predictive analytics platform for regional scheduling of NFL football games for multiple seasons, including specifically the 2022–2023 season” by “at the least 2018.” Recentive and Fox had separate partnerships with the NFL during this time. Recentive contends that fairly than use Recentive’s network maps to schedule regional broadcasts of NFL games, Fox used “infringing predictive analytics software to optimize scheduling and broadcasts.” Recentive says that Fox relies on a VP of information products and ML technique to develop and oversee a “Fox Mapping Tool,” which Recentive describes as “map[ping] the primary plurality of events and the second plurality of events to a plurality of television stations for a plurality of cities.”

As Recentive tells it, the corporate’s network maps are pioneering. “Prior to Recentive’s invention,” the criticism asserts, “conventional network map technology suffered from many drawbacks,” including an inability to “reply to changing conditions” and  “forecast the impact of a proposed schedule change.” For the NFL, Recentive’s computer algorithm offers the possibility to “to optimize a selected parameter, comparable to overall television rankings for the NFL across all games, rankings for the NFL with a selected affiliate (CBS or FOX), rankings for the NFL in a selected market, with a selected audience, or at a selected time.”

Recentive demands a declaration that Fox is infringing on two patents. It also seeks damages and an injunction that will each prohibit Fox employees from using Recentive’s patented technology and “selling, offering on the market, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by [the patents].”

A Fox spokesperson said the corporate is reviewing the lawsuit. When the time comes, expect attorneys for the network to reply the criticism and seek its dismissal. Fox will likely insist that it has not committed infringement and assert its scheduling technologies depend on mental property developed in-house or together with licensed partners. The complexity of technology dictates that patent infringement cases often depend on expert witnesses to supply insight on whether a defendant borrowed an excessive amount of of one other’s technology. Expect each Recentive and Fox to retain such experts.

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