Wednesday, Nov. 24, 1999 | 10:51 a.m.
Stratosphere hotel-casino developer Bob Stupak and his company Titanic Corp. of Nevada Inc. are denying allegations by Allen Rubin, CEO of Los Angeles-based Titanic Resort, that they infringed his trademark rights.
Rubin filed a lawsuit May 21 against Stupak and Titanic Corp. alleging Stupak misappropriated his trademark "Titanic Hotel and Casino" and is allegedly competing for developers and investors with Rubin's planned Titanic hotel-casino project.
In an answer filed in U.S. District Court, Stupak attorney James Jimmerson disputed Rubin's allegations.
"There are some real serious issues as to whether Rubin is the owner of the trademark," Jimmerson said. "Stupak is unequivocal in denying liability to Rubin. So far he hasn't produced any documentation proving an authentic trademark that is properly registered and complies with U.S. trademark statutes and codes."
Rubin, who said he registered the Titanic name at the U.S. patent and trademark office in Washington, D.C., through trademark attorney Stevan Lieberman on April 4, 1997, and set up a website called Titanicresort.com in March 1998, alleged Stupak had stolen his idea when Rubin sent Stupak a presentation package on the Titanic resort in March 1998 in a bid to attract investors.
"Relative to Rubin's claims that (the Titanic name) is his idea, Stupak came upon his concept independently," Jimmerson said. "I'm unaware of any communication between Rubin and Stupak but discovery should flush some of this out."
Separately, Rubin is fighting a legal battle with his former business partner Michael Simmons over the ownership of the Titanic trademark.
Rubin filed an administrative complaint on Nov. 13, 1998, against Simmons, alleging he had no ownership rights to the Titanic trademark because he abandoned the partnership when he allegedly failed to make a $750 payment for his 50 percent share of the trademark application fee and failed to make a presentation package to sell the concept of the Titanic hotel-casino.
Rubin alleged Simmons contacted him in April 1998 asking for his share of the sales proceeds after an L.A. Weekly article appeared about the "sale" of the name "Titanic Hotel & Casino." Rubin said the sale was being made by infringers of his trademark.
Rubin, who said he conceptualized the Titanic theme for a hotel-casino, said he can't proceed with the finalization of agreements and contracts with a group of investors financing, building and marketing his proposed Las Vegas hotel-casino project because of Simmons' claims to ownership rights.
Simmons, in his cross-complaint filed April 8, 1999, alleged he was first to conceptualize the Titanic theme casino and Rubin had allegedly tried to cut him out of the partnership by declaring in the trademark application Rubin had been unable to contact Simmons. Simmons said he wasn't told he owed any additional payment for the trademark application fee to Rubin.
Simmons said Rubin had allegedly attempted to get him to sign a document in August 1998 reducing his ownership interest in the trademark to half of 1 percent from 50 percent on grounds that Rubin was trying to shield him from potential litigation that was expected to be filed against them by other third parties.
Rubin declined to elaborate on those lawsuits. Rubin, who claims he has already obtained investors' guarantees for a $1.8 billion construction loan, said he envisions a 212-room hotel in the Titanic portion of his project and 3,500 rooms for an Iceberg portion.
"We expect to begin construction when the rest of the contracts are done," he said. "This theme park is going to be four times the size of Disneyland. It will be the Arctic of the desert."
The 170-acre project is proposed for a site 4 miles south of Mandalay Bay between I-15 and Las Vegas Blvd.
Stupak had planned to build a replica of the famous ship on 10 acres of property he owns on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard South at Park Paseo Street, just south of Charleston Boulevard. The site is just a short distance north of the Stratosphere.
City officials, however, have refused to rezone the area to accommodate Stupak's resort.
Stupak, who owns the existing low-rent Thunderbird Motel on Las Vegas Boulevard at the proposed Titanic site, already operates a wing of the motel as the "Titanic Resort."