Judgment of English Court of Appeal in legal dispute between Sportradar and Football Dataco Limited
Today the English Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the appeals from the English High Court of Justice judgment made on 8th of May 2012 regarding the database right infringement case brought by Football Dataco Limited & Others against Sportradar GmbH, Sportradar AG and Stan James plc. The decision of the Court of Appeal reverses the initial judgment of the High Court of Justice which held that Sportradar was not liable for database right infringement. However the Court of Appeal decided that Sportradar was infringing Football DataCo’s database rights in a compilation of football data when collecting certain data for English and Scottish Football Leagues and providing them to sports betting operators who are targeting end users in the UK.
“I want to emphasize that the Court of Appeal made clear that our services regarding the English Premier League do not infringe any rights, anywhere. We welcome this. However, in our opinion the rest of this judgment which relates only to Football DataCo’s database and not football data in general is a judicial error and we do not agree with the reasoning on which it is based. Sportradar has fought to establish that the provision of a competitive information service should be available and that access to pure information relating to football matches should not be monopolized and subject to royalties. As we consider this issue to be a matter of public importance we will do everything possible to achieve a review of this decision by the English Supreme Court”, commented Carsten Koerl, group chief executive officer, from Sportradar. The Supreme Court is the last level of appeal in England from a judgment made by the English Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal held that sui generis database right subsists in Football Dataco’s compilation; a question which was highly disputed between the parties. It involved an important issue of European database law and for this reason Sportradar believes it should have been referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union. Furthermore the Court of Appeal stated that there was a significant investment in its database by Football DataCo and that Sportradar – regarding the other English and Scottish leagues than the English Premier League – took a substantial part of it, which Sportradar had also contested. Also the Court of Appeal held that Sportradar do not stand in any different position than betting operators, that both were targeting UK punters by providing services to them and therefore Sportradar were jointly liable for the infringement of UK betting customers.
As a consequence of the judgment Sportradar will limit its Live Score service regarding English and Scottish football for customers which are targeting end users based in UK. The judgment concerns only the UK and does not affect Sportradar’s service, or its customers’ business in continental Europe and other territories worldwide. Further the effects of the judgment are limited to the provision of the Live Score service within the UK. Other services provided by Sportradar – such as its live betting services – are in no way affected.
“It is especially regrettable that the Court of Appeal hasn’t referred this case to the European Court of Justice. By doing so it could have been avoided that UK end users are now disadvantaged in comparison to other European users. To all customers who don’t address UK punters we will of course continue to provide our full range of Live Scores including all English and Scottish Leagues”, Carsten Koerl pointed out.
Sportradar is the worldwide leading premium partner for the sports betting and media industry. Sportradar provides sports data services to the bookmaking world with its brand Betradar, and to the international media with its brand Scoreradar. More than 400 businesses in over 60 countries rely on Sportradar’s data depth and quality services in their daily business. Besides market leading companies in the sports betting and media industry, Sportradar also operates a unique Fraud Detection System (FDS) for several federations, including UEFA and ITF (International Tennis Federation). The FDS has been supporting sport associations as well as state authorities with its expertise to detect betting related manipulation since 2004. Sportradar employs 500 highly experienced staff worldwide. Headquartered in Switzerland, Sportradar has offices in 16 other cities.
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