Monday, April 20, 2009

Bodog dispute settled?

from PR Newswire: "While the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group was not the judgment debtor, the MMGG is the exclusive licensee of the "Bodog" brand within the region and, as such, activities that impact the brand necessarily impact our businesses. We are pleased to have worked constructively with 1st Technology and its principals to bring an end to this protracted dispute. This resolution will provide certainty and will also allow us to continue to enhance our technology base for online gaming in order to provide our users with unfettered access to the best technology," said Mr. Alwyn Morris, Chief Executive for the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group. 1st Technology's Dr. Scott Lewis commented on the agreement, stating, "We are pleased to have finally resolved this dispute, and applaud Mr. Morris for his proactive and constructive approach."

See previous IPBiz posts including:

From an interview with Calvin Ayre:

CALVIN AYRE: Credit has to go to Alwyn Morris and the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group for that. As you know, the MMGG has the exclusive license to the Bodog brand for online gaming in the US.

It is a matter of public record that default judgment was obtained against a long-defunct supplier in Costa Rica that, among other things, provided domain registration and management services. They were – regrettably – allowed to include “Bodog” in their corporate name to make registration of domains simpler. In retrospect, that was obviously a mistake. So, rightly or wrongly, when the patent trolls got their judgment, they also seized control of the domains that were registered by the supplier.

The MMGG had nothing to do with that lawsuit or the domain seizure – they were never a party to that process in any way. However, since the supplier was never going to have the resources to buy the domains back and since the US business had already been transitioned to the MMGG at that point, the only party that had any interest in the domains or that case was always going to be the MMGG.

It’s not surprising, but the details of the brand licensing model aren’t necessarily understood by players or suppliers, so there was ongoing market confusion about who was subject to this judgment and what its impact might be. Alwyn made the right business decision, I believe, by acquiring the domains and removing this distraction.

Of trolls and things -->

CALVIN AYRE: Honestly, I don’t waste energy thinking about them any more – they never really had much of an impact on the organization while I was still involved. The US business had already been taken over by the MMGG under their brand license deal by the time this happened, so I was already winding down my transition obligations anyway.

It’s no secret, though, that their “business model” is designed to take advantage of the overworked patent office and the insanely litigious environment in the US. Just try to find an article about patent trolls that isn’t written by a contingency-fee lawyer, which doesn’t use the words “extortion” or “blackmail” to describe the practice – the Harvard Business Review had a good piece about it in June of last year, actually.

There’s no question that it’s difficult not to be emotional when you’re basically being blackmailed, but ultimately until the US addresses the flaws in the patent system, the cancer will go untreated. Companies just need to adapt their development models and their legal structures to accommodate the threat and to mitigate any potential risk. Railing against it is useless.

Yes, and the Harvard Business Review had a 2005 article with a heading "Plagiarize with pride."


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