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Gaming companies suing ‘cybersquatters’

Lawyers going after firms infringing on Las Vegas casino trademarks

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009 | 12:43 p.m.

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Attorneys representing gaming companies continue to go after alleged "cybersquatters,'' suing numerous companies they claim are using Internet sites to profit by infringing on the trademarks of well-known Las Vegas casinos.

Suits filed recently in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas include:

• The Golden Nugget sued Rami Ladki and Mystic City Entertainment, both believed to be in North Vancouver, British Columbia, claiming they created an Internet Web site domain name using the phrase "goldennugget'' and that the Web site links to Las Vegas travel sites with search links to competitors such as the Fremont casino and Harrah's.

By using the Golden Nugget name in its domain name, the defendants "have intended to cause confusion, cause mistake or deceive consumers,'' the lawsuit alleged.

The suit against Ladki and Mystic City Entertainment was dismissed June 18 after the parties in May filed a stipulation with the court in which the defendants agreed to transfer rights to the domain name at issue to the Golden Nugget, court records show.

Prior to the dismissal, U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson issued a preliminary injunction ordering that "defendants will immediately cease and desist any and all use of plaintiff's name and trademarks and any and all variants thereof, including use of the infringing domain name and all variants thereof."

"It was a misunderstanding," Ladki said. "There was no such intent of cybersquatting."

That suit was filed by attorneys Mark Tratos, Lauri Thompson, Ronald Green Jr. and Laraine Burrell of the firm Greenberg Traurig.

• Cannery Casino Resorts LLC alleges Hambledon N.V./Smart Answer, S.A., of Panama, registered a domain name infringing on the Cannery Casino trademark and uses the domain name to promote Internet businesses unrelated to Cannery's casinos.

The allegedly infringing domain name is used by Hambledon ``to profit from Cannery's goodwill, business reputation and marketing efforts,'' the suit charges.

In another suit against Redwood Media, a company registered in Gibraltar, Cannery alleges Redwood also registered a domain name using the Cannery Casino name for a Web site promoting online gaming and other goods and services.

Those suits were filed by attorneys James Boyle and Kimberly Cooper of the firm Santoro, Driggs, Walch, Kearney, Holley & Thompson.

• Also filing a suit alleging illegal cybersquatting was MGM Mirage Operations Inc., which is suing Oded Keinan and Traffic Label Ltd. of London.

MGM Mirage alleges the defendants registered domain names infringing on its trademarks for its Mirage, Monte Carlo and New York New York hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

Some of the domain names, MGM Mirage alleges, are associated with Web sites that link to online casinos and at least one misidentifies the Monte Carlo as the Mirage.

"Once a web user arrives at defendants’ Web sites linked to the (infringing) domain names, the home pages declare that the Internet user has arrived at the `Mirage Casino' website,'' the lawsuit charges. "The home pages include a description of the world-famous `The Mirage' resort hotel casino, which defendants, upon information and belief, included to cause consumer confusion and create an impression in the mind of the user that defendants’ Web sites and online casino links were or are sponsored, affiliated, or associated with the trademark owners, as well as a photograph of `The Mirage' at the top of the page. To further confuse the public, defendants posted a photograph of the `Monte Carlo' casino in the body of the home page and represented that `The Mirage' was depicted therein when it was not.''

That suit was filed by attorneys Michael McCue and John Krieger of the firm Lewis and Roca LLP.

The defendants either could not be located or could not immediately be reached for comment.

The latest lawsuits follow suits filed earlier this month by Station Casinos Inc. against various defendants alleging they are infringing on Station's trademarks for its Boulder Station, Palace Station, Sunset Station and Texas Station properties.

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