Plaintiff Baseball Quick, LLC ("Baseball Quick") has sued MLB*fn1
Advanced Media, L.P. ("MLB") for infringement of Baseball Quick's U.S. Patent No. 7,628,716 (the "716 Patent"). MLB moves for summary judgment. Baseball Quick opposes the motion and moves under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) for an order allowing it to conduct discovery to develop facts in opposition to MLB's motion for summary judgment. Baseball Quick also moves for sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(h).
The motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part. The motions for relief under Rule 56(d) and sanctions under Rule 56(h) are denied.
The following facts are undisputed, unless otherwise indicated.
Plaintiff Baseball Quick is the assignee of the rights to the '716 Patent, involving an invention by George Mockry and Greg Mockry. The Mockrys made their invention, which they call Baseball Quick, around June of 2000. As will be described more fully below, Baseball Quick is a method for shortening a baseball game to approximately fifteen minutes, by editing the game to remove routine game action (such as pitches where the baseball is not put in play) and delivering the edited recording to subscribers in a condensed version.
The Mockrys filed a provisional application with the United States Patent Office ("PTO") on June 13, 2000. The patent application was published as United States Patent Publication No. 2003/0060311 on March 27, 2003.
It is necessary to quote a portion of the published application. The reason that this is relevant is that, among other things, Baseball Quick asserts provisional rights based on this application pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 154(d)(1).
Claim 4 of the invention claimed in the published application was a method comprised of the following steps: recording the appearances-at-bat for each player, in turn, plus other action that ensues during or after the appearances-at-bat; editing the recorded appearances-at-bat to leave only the last pitch thrown to each player, plus any action ensuing after that pitch and any attempts of runners on base to advance to another base; and presenting the edited recording game as a condensed recorded game showing important action portions of the game.
The published application also contained the following Claim 8:
The method according to claim 4 wherein said step of presenting the edited game as a condensed recorded game includes delivering the recorded game to subscribers over the Internet.
On August 1, 2000, the Mockrys approached MLB in an effort to license their invention to MLB. MLB declined the offer. The Mockrys again approached MLB, and MLB again declined on January 24, 2001, in a letter signed by Bud Selig, Commissioner of MLB. The Mockrys again attempted to license their invention to MLB during 2004 as well, but to no avail.
The '716 Patent ultimately was issued on December 8, 2009. The claims in the '716 Patent cover a process designed to allow one to enjoy a complete baseball game in approximately fifteen minutes. It is now conceded by both parties that Claim 1 is the important claim in the present case, and the only claim at issue in the present motions. Claim 1 describes the following steps:
(1) recording each appearance-at-bat for every player and game action resulting from an appearance-at-bat ...