The patent relates to a system for digitally overlaying an image with another image, such that for example different commercial messages may be displayed to different viewers of a sports event depending on in which country the respective viewers are located – so-called virtual advertising. The patent uses a model of a real world space, which model includes an overlay surface to be overlaid with an overlay image. In each image to be output from the system, an algorithm determines whether the overlay surface is entirely or partially occluded by an occluding object, e.g. a soccer player, located between the camera and the overlay surface.
The patent application was filed on 10 May 2016, and the patent was granted 29 May 2019 without any substantial Office Action being issued by the EPO. No opposition was filed either.
The value of the UPC case is EUR 15M, and the court fee amounts to EUR 86K. The Judge Rapporteur and Presiding Judge is Petri Rinkinen (FI), and Samuel Granata (BE) and Melanie Bessaud (FR) are Legally qualified judges.
No protective letter exists for the Defendant. An application for provisional measures was filed 14 July 2023 (Regular fee: EUR 11K). No documents are available for public inspection yet. Thus, no substantive matters can be reported at this stage.
Interestingly, the patent was opted out on 12 May 2023. The opt-out was then withdrawn on 5 July 2023, only five days before the UPC action was filed. It could further be noted that, the Claimant, AIM Sport Vision AG, only has two patent families, whereas the Defendant, Supponor, has 20 patent families.
Moreover, on 30 January 2023, the UK High Court of Justice decided that Supponor infringed the GB validation of the patent in question. Potentially, therefore, Supponor’s client base of football clubs, brands and agencies are open to claims for damages in the UK. Of course, it will be very interesting to see if the UPC reaches the same conclusion as the UK High Court of Justice. We will monitor the UPC proceedings, and revert with an update as soon as there is something new to report.
Text: Joakim Wihlsson
The Unified Patent Court
The European Patent Office
EPLAW Patent Blog