Stratosphere Owners Sue Online Gaming Company Marchex for Trademark Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on July 24, 2012

slot_machine-thumb-200x150-45773 San Diego – Online gambling is a new threat to traditional casinos. But it appears that brick and mortar casinos still hold a degree of control, particularly when it comes to protecting intellectual property. In a battle of the old versus the new, American Casino and Entertainment Properties which owns the Stratosphere recently filed a lawsuit against Marchex Sales Inc., a mobile and online advertising company out of Seattle, Washington.

The lawsuit, filed in District Court in Las Vegas, alleges trademark infringement and asks for an immediate injunction to shut down a website run and presumably owned my Marchex. In addition to trademark infringement, the court documents allege that Marchex was also in the business of cyberquatting. Cybersquatting involves registering a website domain name that is confusingly similar to that of another party’s trademark. Then, the cybersquatter uses the site to direct incoming traffic to its own websites or advertising.

In the lawsuit, American Casino alleges that Marchex used a website called aceplay.com, which led consumers to believe they would be offered information about Stratosphere and three other properties owned by American Casino. However, links to the Marchex website produced a number of non-related links for competing hotels and casinos. The same links directed users to online gaming sites, which in turn generated “click-through” revenue to Marchex from online casinos.

American Casino argues that it owns the exclusive rights to use the words “Ace Play” in connection with gaming services because it owns the “ACE PLAY” trademark. Evidently, the District Court Judge hearing the case agreed because it issued a temporary restraining order requiring the immediate removal of the aceplay.com website from the Internet. U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro specified that the domain name was to be placed on a “hold and lock” and immediately transferred to the control of the court. A final decision on the case is expected in the coming months.

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