Journal of Health Care Compliance — January – February 2012
Health Information TechnologyOrganizations also must draft rules, typi-cally dubbed “Ofﬁcial Rules,” for their con-tests. These Ofﬁcial Rules detail all of theentry requirements to participate in thecontest. At a minimum, the Ofﬁcial Rulesmust include the following:
. The eligibility cri-teria must specify the pool of individ-uals that are eligible to make submis-sions, including, for example, entrant’sage, residency status, geographic loca-tion, and so forth. Age is particularlyimportant in this context because con-tracts signed by those under the age of majority are not enforceable. Therefore,those under the age of majority cannotproperly assign their IP rights. In cer-tain U.S. states and Canadian provinces,the age of majority is 19.
. The Ofﬁcial Rules must clearlystate the name of the organization that issponsoring the contest as well as the or-ganization that is operating the contest if different from the sponsor.
. The Ofﬁcial Rules mustclearly state the start and end date of the contest, including the time zone.These dates should be the same for allentrants, regardless of their method of entry. The Ofﬁcial Rules also shouldmake clear it is the sponsor’s systemclock that is the ofﬁcial method of time-keeping for the contest.
How to Enter
. The Ofﬁcial Rules mustclearly outline the methods of entry. If the organization is giving away prizes towinners that are chosen randomly andconsideration is present, then organiza-tions must offer a free method of entry,which is to be clearly identiﬁed in theOfﬁcial Rules.
Prizes and Odds of Winning
. The Of-ﬁcial Rules must clearly state the priz-es and the odds of winning each of theprizes. The prizes should be described indetail. Thus, for example, if the prize is atrip, the description must include the lo-cation of the trip, the length of the stay,and so forth. The description also muststate the total value of each of the prizepackages. Additionally, if the contest isopen to residents of Florida, New York,Rhode Island, or Quebec, Canada, thenthe organization must meet certain regis-tration and bonding requirements basedon the total value of the prize package.For example, if the total value of the prizepackage is more than $500, then priorto the start of the contest, organizationsmust ﬁle an application to register thecontest with the Rhode Island Ofﬁce of the Secretary of State.
Similarly, if thetotal prize package is more than $2,000and the contest is open to residents of Quebec, Canada, then Canadian coun-sel must be consulted regarding the pay-ment of a “duty” or fee with the registra-tion application, translating the OfﬁcialRules into French, and meeting certainother requirements set forth by the Ré-gie des alcools.
Selection of Winners
. The Ofﬁcial Rulesalso must state the date on which win-ners will be selected, the method used toselect winners, such as any judging cri-teria to be used, and who will be mak-ing these selections. For example, is thesponsor making the selections, or is thesponsor selecting experts in the ﬁeld?The Ofﬁcial Rules also should make clearthat the sponsor’s winner selections areﬁnal and may not be challenged. Certainstates, such as New York, require thatthe winner lists be ﬁled with the stateand that contest records be retained fora speciﬁc number of days. New York andRhode Island both require that materi-als be retained for six months after thecompletion of the contest.
The OfﬁcialRules must provide details about how in-dividuals may obtain a list of winners.Other than the requirements listedabove, organizations should include a sec-tion detailing representations and warran-ties, indemniﬁcations, and any necessaryreleases. Where the organizations are run-ning a contest involving the submission of IP, the Ofﬁcial Rules should make clear that