A special match in Euro CUP 2024 with the central striker being… a European patent!

While the Euros are still going on with a lot of exciting matches, not everyone knows that the use of VAR technology for determining offsides has been seriously challenged by an NPE from the Netherlands with a preliminary injunction request before the local Hamburg division of the UPC.

An NPE – Non-Practicing Entity, sometimes ingloriously and mostly improperly referred to as a “patent troll” – is technically a person or company that acquires a patent but does not actually practice the patented invention. In this case, the Dutch company Ballinno acquired a patent protecting a method for detecting offsides based on the sound generated when the ball is kicked, and the assignment occurred some months after the assignor had entered into a pre-trial correspondence with UEFA, i.e. the defendant.

This aspect, together with a very limited registered capital of the NPE (€1), led the division to issue the order UPC_CFI_151, where the court ordered the NPE to provide a security for the legal costs in the amount of €56,000. The proceedings continued with an oral hearing set for 3 June 2024; the written grounds of the decision are still not available, but evidently the Euros are going on with the VAR. Hence, the preliminary injunction has not been granted and the Euros are being played regularly. Let’s stay tuned to discuss the decision in detail once available.

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