Breaking Tennis News: Auto-Ref(TM) Granted Exclusive U.S. Patent Rights Australia and Europe Patents Pending

Jan 27, 2005, 00:00 ET from AUTO-REF INC.

    BOSTON, Massachusetts, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ - Auto-Ref Inc. owner of
 sophisticated technology designed to bring more accuracy to the game of
 tennis, announced today from the Australian Open that it has received the U.S.
 patent 6,816,185 for "System and Method for Judging Boundary Lines". The
 exclusive U.S. patent covers technology relating to an optical line monitor
 for tennis matches.
     "Auto-Ref has been pursuing this all-important patent for more than four
 years," said Auto-Ref CEO Peter Szirmak from the Australian Open. "This takes
 us one step closer to becoming the provider of choice for tennis matches, both
 as an officiating aid and for broadcast purposes."
     The Auto-Ref(TM) system first made international headlines following the
 high profile Serena Williams-Jennifer Capriati match at the 2004 U.S. Open. At
 this time, the Auto-Ref(TM) system was also undergoing its official evaluation
 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). In October 2004, the ITF
 returned its official report on Auto-Ref(TM)'s effectiveness. The report based
 its findings on three core areas - practicality, accuracy and consistency. The
 report confirmed that Auto-Ref(TM) is capable of an accuracy of within four
 millimeters, and that all decisions made by the system during testing were
     The system was further demonstrated at the Bell Challenge in Quebec City
 in November 2004. Auto-Ref(TM) ran simultaneously with existing line calling
 but was NOT used as an officiating aid in the tournament. Canada's premier
 sports network The Sports Network (TSN) also used Auto-Ref(TM) instant replay
 for its broadcast of the tournament's final match. This marked the first time
 the technology was broadcast by a network as part of its sports coverage.
     The industry's most prominent associations attended the Quebec tournament
 for the express purpose of monitoring the technology's performance. Those
 groups that closely monitored the tournament included the ITF, The Women's
 Tennis Association (WTA), Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the
 United States Tennis Association (USTA).
     Mr. Szirmak says in addition to leading-edge line-judging, the
 Auto-Ref(TM) system provides instant, animated video replay from various
 angles. "The system captures every shot digitally, and provides a broad range
 of statistics that can be instantly displayed and analyzed. The TV-quality
 output can then be fed to networks and to big-screen displays for spectators
 at events. These advanced capabilities significantly enhance the information
 and entertainment value for all involved," Szirmak adds.
     The Auto-Ref(TM) system uses patented technology that combines high-speed
 cameras and advanced software algorithms. The system optically tracks the
 flight of the ball during play. Its sophisticated software then maps the exact
 point of the ball's impact relative to the court lines, providing real-time
 determination of whether the ball is in or out. The officiating aid can
 operate in several modes, from instant video replay for chair umpires to full
 line calling mode.
     Incorporated in 2000, Auto-Ref Inc. is headquartered in Canada. While its
 first product focuses on the world of tennis, its technology is readily
 transferable to badminton, volley ball and other sports.