I’m Ready for some Football…R U?

September 7, 2011

In 1990, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) issued a patent for the “Computerized Statistical Football Game” (FIND on Westlaw – US PAT 4918603).   If you go check out Fantasy Sports Properties, Inc. v Sportsline.com, Inc., 287 F3d 1108, you will find that “computerized statistical football” is more commonly known by another name.  That’s right folks – Fantasy Football.  It’s that time of year again, when football fans (like me) start to read the sports section more and tune into sports talk radio.  Some spend hours pouring over statistics to make sure they maximize the potential of their fantasy team.  More than a few will spend some time chatting by the water cooler about how Peyton Manning’s neck injury might impact his performance this year. 

Much has been written about the loss of productivity in the work place because of athletic-centered hobbies such as fantasy football.  A recent survey (see 2011 WLNR 5132371) found that almost half of respondents have participated in office pools in the past.  The most popular pools?  Super Bowl (63%), March Madness (55%) Lottery (28%) Fantasy Football (23 %).  Of those that participated in pools, 57% have attended a company sports event, 33% have watched or followed sports during work hours and 6% have called in sick the day after watching a sports event.  For a more skeptical view of the loss of productivity related to sports obsessions, see How much productivity is really lost because of fantasy football and March Madness?, 2008 WLNR 17991383

Here are some work-appropriate football-related research queries: 

Intellectual Property Rights

sy,di(“fantasy football” & patent licens! copyright trademark)

In Westlaw: ALLCASES

In WestlawNext:   All State and All Federal Cases

Sports & Entertainment Law

(player athlete /10 “right of publicity” likeness) /150 “video game” “fantasy football”

In Westlaw:  TP-ALL

In WestlawNext:  From the All Content tab choose Secondary Sources

Employment Law

FIND the following documents on Westlaw or WestlawNext:

Place Your Bet: The Legality of Office Pools, 13 No. 3 HR Advisor: Legal & Practical Guidance ART 7, May/June 2007.

Human Resources Guide § 5:12.50, on Company Rules & Regulations – Employee Office Pools

Securities Law:

To find offerings, mergers, or asset purchases of companies with “fantasy football” interests, type “fantasy football” into the Search Full Text field in EDGAR on Westlaw.  You can further narrow the search, to say S-1’s or 8-K’s, by expanding the “Form Type” menu on the search template.