As Filings Rise, Not Even Tennis Is Immune from Claims of Patent Infringement

May 15, 2020

Tennis is arguably a sport made for play during a global pandemic, but given the ubiquity of technology, it is not insulated from patent litigation. This week, Group One, explaining that tennis “gameplay begins with a serve” that “must clear the net without coming into contact with it when passing over” has sued its competitor GTE GmbH and GTE’s CEO Ralph Weigel. Both provide let-detection systems—i.e., systems that detect when serves contact the net, which lets, when hit by “professional tennis players . . . exceeding 140 miles per hour”, are “oftentimes difficult for linesman [sic] and judges” to detect—and Group One alleges that GTE’s system infringes two US patents that it holds related to let-detection. Group One pleads multiple other claims (e.g., false advertising, tortious interference with prospective business relationships, trade libel, etc.) and notes that it has already sued GTE for patent infringement in Australia.

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