05/17/2007 11:00PM

TVG sues XpressBet, Magna


Television Games Network, the horserace broadcast and account-wagering company, has filed a lawsuit against one of its competitors, XpressBet, and XpressBet's parent company, Magna Entertainment Corp., alleging the companies infringed upon two patents held by TVG, according to an announced from TVG.

The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and also names Magna's broadcasting subsidiary, HRTV, as a defendant, seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief, TVG said in a release. The patents each involve "interactive wagering systems and processes," TVG said, though officials did not immediately respond to questions regarding the exact nature of the patents.

XpressBet and HRTV were launched by Magna early in 2002 as a direct competitor to TVG. The companies carry the signals from all of Magna's tracks, as well as other tracks.

TVG and XpressBet have never reached an agreement to share the signals controlled by each company, and the competitive stakes between the two companies ratcheted up early this year when Magna formed a partnership with Churchill Downs Inc. to share signals. Churchill Downs had previously licensed its content to TVG, but is allowing its contracts with the company to expire.

William Ford, Magna's legal counsel, said early on Friday that the company could not comment on the suit because it had yet to receive a copy of it.

"We don't know anything about it other than what was in the press release," Ford said.

John Hindman, TVG's legal counsel, said in the release that TVG had made "numerous good faith efforts" to license the patents to Magna, but that those efforts had failed.