MGM Files Trademark Lawsuit Over Online Poker Domains

By Joseph Mandour on December 5, 2011

playing_cards-thumb-200x112-31299 San Diego – MGM Resorts, the Nevada-based gaming corporation has filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against four individuals and two companies for sitting on domains that are too closely related to the MGM brand. In addition to trademark infringement, allegations from the lawsuit also include cyber squatting.

The complaint, which was filed earlier this week with the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, claims that the defendants intentionally took several MGM gaming brand names with the intention of profiting from registering them as domain names. This allegation, according to MGM, is in direct violation with the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA).

The defendants named in the lawsuit are the owners of the following domains: bellagioonlinepoker.com, circuscircuspoker.com, excaliberpoker.com, Luxorpoker.com, mandalaybayonlinepoker.com, mgmpoker.com, and aria poker.com. All of the defendants reside in the United States with the exception of one living in London, and another living in Zimbabwe.

“The defendants have done nothing more than tack on the descriptive terms ‘poker’ or ‘online poker’ to each of the MGM trademarks to form the domain names. Accordingly, there is no question that the domain names are confusingly similar to the MGM trademarks,” commented attorneys for MGM, who were trying to obtain a restraining order to immediately block the infringing sites.

MGM’s lawsuit indicated that the defendants infringed on its brands and registered the domains in order to capitalize once online poker is licensed and regulated in the United States. Recently, the commercial casino industry has been pushing for new federal laws to regulate the estimated $6 billion online poker industry. The casino industry wants each individual state to be able to vote whether it will allow online poker and it is also asking that online gaming companies be licensed the same way land-based casinos are in Nevada, New Jersey, and elsewhere.

Some of the infringing sites were created as early as 2002, and MGM’s recent lawsuit could indicate that it feels it will be offering licensed online poker in the near future.

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