Sporting Innovations’ lawsuit against former co-CEO is dismissed

Asim Pasha

Asim Pasha

The somewhat bizarre lawsuit brought last year by Kansas City-based Sporting Innovations against its former co-CEO Asim Pasha for allegedly conspiring to set up a competing firm using Sporting Innovations assets and intellectual property has been dismissed, with a stipulation that the firm cannot re-file similar charges at a later date.

According to a document dated Feb. 29 provided to us by Pasha’s lawyers from Lathrop & Gage LLP, Kansas City, Sporting Innovations’ claims against Asim and his son Zain Pasha (who also worked for Sporting Innovations) were dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot be filed again in the future. As part of the negotiation, Pasha also agreed to dismiss his counterclaims against Sporting Innovations, basically meaning that the legal entanglement between the two parties is over.

Robb Heineman

Robb Heineman

Neither Pasha nor Sporting Innovations (now called FanThreeSixty) or FanThreeSixty CEO Robb Heineman would comment on the lawsuit dismissal, but with this result you have to wonder why exactly the case was brought in its initial fashion with its initial claims, including Sporting Innovations’ claim of $75,000 in damages. Though Pasha seems to have perhaps lost any claim to his 20 percent ownership stake in the company — according to Pasha’s lawyers he no longer owns any part of Sporting Innovations — Pasha also announced that he is taking over as the chief technology officer for the new stadium being designed for the AS Roma club, the Stadio Della Roma, which is scheduled to open in 2017 or 2018. We are trying to schedule some time to speak with Pasha about the new stadium, which seems like a very interesting, advanced project, so stay tuned.

On the Sporting Innovations/FanThreeSixty side, the firm is still apparently continuing with part of its original lawsuit, against other defendants. According to the legal document:

The Stipulation of Dismissal, with prejudice, does not affect Plaintiff Sporting Innovations KC LLC’s claims against Vernalis Group, Inc., Nader Hanafy, Inventory Intel, LLC, and Ubi Technologies, LLC, which parties remain as Defendants.

We have emails in to FanThreeSixty for comment, and we also asked Heineman to comment on the case in an “ask me anything” session he recently held on Twitter, but have not gotten a reply to either query. As we noted previously, Sporting Innovations/FanThreeSixty hasn’t announced any new clients recently for their stadium app program, and several high-profile customers, including the Pac-12 and the Tampa Bay Lightning, are no longer using Sporting Innovations software.

MLB, NFL team up to battle Aereo


Live-TV startup Aereo has been taking on television broadcasters and winning but now faces an assault by two of America’s largest sports leagues, the NFL and MLB as they seek to prevent it from showing their broadcasts.

The two leagues are seeking to piggyback with an amicus brief to a petition filed by broadcasters that asks the United States Supreme Court to rule on the legality of Aereo’s broadcasting of local over the air signals.

In case you are unfamiliar with Aereo, it is a startup that makes a combination DVR/antenna that captures over the air broadcasts and allows customers to its $8 a month service to view the programming on Internet connected devices.

It started out in New York City last year and then moved to Boston and Atlanta, surviving legal challenges along the way. It has now accelerated its expansion efforts and recently moved into Utah, Chicago, Miami, Houston and Dallas this year.

Apparently this is terrible news to the sports leagues, as well as with NBC, Fox, ABC and CBS, the broadcasters that filed the initial suit. The broadcasters have claimed that Aereo is violating their copyrights and must pay retransmission fees.

The sports leagues have piled on claiming that if they lose exclusive retransmission licensing rights it will make over the air broadcasting less attractive and that they would be forced to go to paid cable networks. According to a piece in Variety the amount that the league collects is about $100 million for those rights.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out on a number of levels. Cable has been losing viewership as a generation of ‘cable cutters’ has emerged and they use Netflix and other online programs, get over the air antennas or do without.

Also the sports should keep boxing in mind. A once popular over the air sport it moved its premium events to pay per view cable, and helped kill the sport. While basic cable is not the same as PPV the example is one to remember.

The trend to get over the air broadcast, either from a service such as Aereo or by using a proxy, often illegal, appears to have accelerated the movement of quality content to basic cable where it is much more difficult to rebroadcast. Will sports follow this trend?

Lawsuit Jolts Athlete-App World — Is to Blame for Cycling Accident Deaths?

The athlete-motivation application world got a jolt Monday when news broke of a lawsuit being filed against, in part alleging that the results-comparison site caused a rider to push himself too hard, resulting in an accident that killed him.

This San Francisco Chronicle report (scroll down, it’s the second item) has most of the details — which stem from an accident two years ago when then 41-year-old William “Kim” Flint lost control of his bike while going approximately 40 mph in a descent on an East Bay road. Here’s a quick snippet quoting the attorney from Flint’s family, who is filing the lawsuit:

“If they are going to host events, give away prizes and draw in users to get the fastest times, then someone should at least come out and see that the routes are safe,” said Susan Kang, attorney for the family of William “Kim” Flint, the 41-year-old electrical engineer who died in the bicycling accident June 19, 2010.

Kang says Flint was “obsessed” with the bike-times website maintained by Strava Inc., the company being named in the lawsuit. He had learned the night before he died that someone using the site had beaten his record “King of the Mountain” time on the same hill, she said.

We’d never looked closely at before but the site and its challenges seem pretty popular — certainly at the front of a marketplace just getting started, where weekend warriors can “compete” using recorded times on known routes, all done via GPS and device wonkery. But are some users getting out of control, breaking laws and endangering lives in trying to become virtual champs? The latest twist in this scenario, according to the SF Gate report, is that Chris Bucchere, the cyclist charged last week with felony manslaughter (for running down a 71-year-old man in a crosswalk) was also trying to beat a record.

We haven’t yet reached out to the company for comment yet, but on the company blog, Michael Horvath (who is referred to as’s “fearless leader”) had a post Monday that seemed to answer the lawsuit obliquely: Titled “Stand With Us,” the blog post started with what seemed like a it’s-not-our-fault disclaimer that may or may not mean much to a judge and jury. Here’s the top of the blog post:

Each and every day we strive to improve Strava for you ­­ the athlete. We are athletes too, just like you. As the Strava community grows, we all need to follow a few simple guideposts to ensure that Strava’s impact is positive.

This is what we, the Strava community, stand for:

We know the rules. Laws and rules are created for our protection. Cycling, running and swimming are inherently dangerous and following the law, and common sense, when it comes to traffic, weather, or conditions, reduces our odds of getting hurt or hurting others. It’s as simple as that.

The blog goes on to talk about resting and honoring sportsmanship (aka, no cheaters) and ends with this line: “If you want to be part of the Strava community, we’d like you to stand with us and take these guideposts to heart.”

Something tells us that if lawyers are getting involved, it’s not going to be as simple as a statement on a blog to prove that’s competitions didn’t cause harm. Or that the bad apples aren’t a part of the community. There are going to be many who decry the lawsuit as some part of a nanny-state weirdness, but there is probably some legitimate question to be asked whether or not a site that promotes virtual competitions on real streets and trails is responsible for the participants’ actions, much in the way a 10K race must take out insurance to cover its runners. I have a feeling this may be the tip of the iceberg for such sites like It’s something we’re going to watch closely.

UPDATE: There’s a new blog post on the site, with some new terms of service that appear to include language that basically says “you can’t sue” if you happen to say, die or kill someone else while you are trying to beat your best time. Interesting language, no?

NFL and NFLPA Headed to Court Again

The unhappy couple is once again heading to the legal system to settle their disagreements, and there is the chance that more legal issues will come to a head soon that might result in more court action in the near future.

It seems that the NFL’s uncapped season a year ago was actually capped, they just did not bother to tell the players. However the issue came to light with the Commissioner fining the Redskins and Cowboys a total of $42 million in cap space for having the audacity of treating an uncapped year as an uncapped year.

The big issue now is that the NFL Players Association is charging that the NFL owners engaged in collusion, however there seems to be an article in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement that gives the NFLPA’s approval of the move and so prohibits a lawsuit of this type.

So far the NFLPA disagrees and said that it has cost the players $1 billion and that it will see treble damages. (Can you say $1 billion without doing it in Dr Evil’s voice?) For a much more complete coverage of the issue I would recommend heading over to ProFootballTalk at NBC Sports, the site has been covering the issue vigorously from the start.

However there are other issues bubbling to the top as well between the two. The NFL has installed a new pads rule and will start requiring thigh and knee pads as mandatory equipment for all players starting with the 2013 season. The league has determined that since this is a playing rule it does not need to get the NFL’s Players Association’s permission.

The NFLPA has an entirely different take on the issue and believes that this is a change in work conditions and that is something that needs to be negotiated. Thigh and knee pads are already required in high school and college.

Then there is the bounty case, and all the fallout associated with it. ESPN has reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said that the NFL will make the evidence of the case public, but not until after all of the players’ appeals have been heard. The commissioner also mentioned that while he understood that current Cleveland Brown’s linebacker Scott Fujita, suspended for three games for his participation, was in a tough position but that suing the commissioner for defamation was the wrong way to go about it. But the courts seem like the place where much of the NFL’s hard hitting will take place, at least this summer.

The NFL Metes out Punishment to Saints Players — This could be a Long Battle

After a week delay NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has come down on the New Orleans Saints players that were most active in the notorious bounty program installed by defensive coach Gregg Williams by suspending four players for various lengths of time.

Suspended without pay are Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season, Anthony Hargrove (now a Green Bay Packer) was given an eight game suspension, Will Smith was suspended for four games and Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, was given three games. Vilma’s was the most sever because he supposedly put his own cash up for anyone that would injure Brett Favre in the 2010 NFC Championship game.

The four players are not taking this sitting down and have already pledged to fight the issue in the courts as well as appealing the ruling. I did a quick look and cannot find anybody that has won an appeal from Goodell, I guess that might be because he has to decide if his original ruling was correct and he goes with his first impression.

The court battle could be a protracted affair and I wonder of a judge will order the league to let the players participate n games while the matter is being disputed? I wonder how Goodell will react to being over ruled by a judge, if that happens?

On top of the lawsuit and the appeal, the NFL Players Association has issued a short release that simply said that the NFL has still not provided it with details or specific evidence of these players involvement in the pay-to-injure program.

There is one other interesting aspect to this mess, and that is the numerous lawsuits against the NFL regarding concussions will take a good look at this program At least one of the has already cited the bounty program, that only leaves about 50 lawsuits and 1,200 plaintiffs to go!

Will Google’s Android Issues Benefit Windows 8?

The just started Oracle vs Google legal battle has been billed by one observer as “The World Series” of IP lawsuits and while I know that many do not pay much attention to the legal battles between tech giants, this one could have a very direct impact on any user of an Android device and possible app developers as well. On the flip side other rivals may prosper.

The reason goes to the crux of the lawsuit, which claims that Google knowingly and willingly used a variety of patents and technologies that belong to Oracle, all of the them related to the Java language that it purchased from Sun.

So far the trial, which is being covered pretty closely by many in the tech world due to its potential major impact on Android, has been very interesting. With what looks to be damming internal e-mails from inside Google hurting its chances to Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison admitting that he does not know if the charge for Java helping Google, I am sure it will continue to be interesting. In some cases Java is free while in others a license is required. Who is correct? Who knows?

Oracle wants billions in damages and Google is simply seeking to not get a permanent injunction against its using the technology in question. That could shut down Android for a while as they either work out a deal or Google develops a work around. This would have the potential to killing, in the near term, Android tablet developers that are still trying to establish themselves and on the flip side has the potential to be a major boost for Microsoft and its partner son the Windows Phone side, so stay tuned.