Hawk-Eye Lands Partnership with NFL. Now It Needs Patents

Hawk-Eye announced in July 2021 that it would be entering a partnership with yet another professional sports league, the NFL, to supply its SMART Replay technology to help referees in the making of replay decisions. The technology will be implemented in the stadiums nationwide to provide referees to be able to review a play of interest from every camera angle simultaneously and in synchronization. Previously, the available camera angles and synchronization of the views were dependent on which angles TV producers could provide the replay officials, but now that step has been eliminated. The League hopes this will help officials to make quicker and more accurate decisions when going to the booth.

While the technology sounds very useful, it does not look like Hawk-Eye, or its parent organization Sony, owns any patents covering the technology. A technology like this would likely find itself falling under the synchronization subcategory of the Patent Radian®. With the competition of the sports analytics market, protecting your innovations with patents cannot be understated. While Hawk-Eye is already implementing the technology, it is still not too late to try and begin developing a patent portfolio in that subcategory. 

The subcategory represents one of the least active of the Patent Radian®, meaning there is room for development. However, considering it is already implementing the technology, it might be a good idea for them to acquire other companies’ patent assets instead. Two ideal targets to offloading or licensing patents from could be Avago Technologies and Agile Sports Technologies. Both companies are already assigned patents in the synchronization subcategory for technologies that are similar to that advertised by Hawk-Eye. Stay up to date with Hawk-Eye and other market movers but following the Sports Analytics Patent Forecast®.