Las Vegas-based GWIN, Inc. provides sports handicapping analysis and advice to sports bettors worldwide through the wholly owned subsidiary, Global SportsEDGE, Inc. The company provides professional handicapping advice on professional football/basketball/baseball games, college football and basketball games, hockey, NASCAR, and golf via television, radio and the Internet.
GWIN has also become the recent owner (assignment recorded 8/4/2006) of US Patent 6,260,019, titled "Web-based prediction marketplace." The patent was acquired right when the company announced a debt restructuring for an equity transaction. One week later, the company followed up with an announcement stating that (1) lawyers have been retained, and (2) lawsuits were ready to be filed on the newly-acquired patent.
Yesterday, GWIN followed-through, and filed six infringement actions against its competitors, based on the '019 patent (which appears to be the only patent held by the company). The patent was filed on March 5, 1999 and issued 0n July 10, 2001.
The '019 patent deals generally with web-based handicapping, and also provides a "marketplace" in which handicappers ("suppliers") are compensated based on the number of consumers who view their predictions. Claim 25 is particularly noteworthy:
25. A method of obtaining prediction information, the method comprising:
viewing performance information reflective of the outcome of at least one past prediction made by at least one prediction supplier;
viewing which prediction information is available from at least one prediction supplier,
electing to purchase prediction information from a selected prediction supplier;
viewing said purchased prediction information; and
crediting an account of the selected prediction supplier.
This patent could be a potential headache for the sports-betting industry, and a veritable cash-cow for GWIN, particularly when you consider that an estimated 8 million Americans gamble $6 billion online annually . . .
(See House Report 109-552, which provides various information on on-line sport betting) .