UK football leagues lose Israel case

By Robyn Rosen, April 15, 2010

The English and Scottish Football Leagues have lost a case against an Israeli football pools company after accusing it of copyright infringement.

The Israel Sports Betting Board (ISBB) runs Toto, the weekly Israel football pools and Winner, which bets on individual matches.

There are not enough matches played locally through the year for the ISBB to rely on local fixtures so they select fixtures from the English and Scottish leagues.

In 2008, the UK leagues sued the ISBB for revenues, claiming copyright infringement and unjust enrichment. Losing in the District Court, they appealed to the Supreme Court.

Last month, the Israel Supreme Court found in favour of the ISBB and against the FA Premier League, the Football League, the Scottish Premier League, the Scottish Football League and Football DataCo (its licensing company).

The Court ruled that because the ISBB has a monopoly in Israel, there are no grounds for unfair competition and no infringement.

Having established that there is no copyright protection, the Court went on to rule that there is no basis for unjust enrichment.

A spokesman for ISBB said: "It's not a matter of being happy or satisfied with this judgment. We knew from the beginning that this would be the decision and there was no need to go through all these courts to prove it."

Last updated: 4:30pm, April 15 2010