Gambling on Trademarks Good for the Courts

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Two different gambling-related trademarks have led to legal cases involving millions of dollars. One was decided Monday and resulted in two men losing a $5 million case against the Georgia State Lottery, while the other remains a mess between a Minnesota casino and a Las Vegas signage maker.

The Georgia State Lottery folks must feel like they just won one of their own games since two men that were suing the organization for $5 million lost their case on Monday, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The suit involved the logo for Georgia’s MONEYBAG$ game, a velvet pouch with wooden tiles, which George Kyle had registered as a trademark in 1995. It was used by the Georgia Lottery with permission from 1999 to 2002, but it also appeared on scratch-off tickets in 2005 and 2007, the Journal-Constitution reports.

“Scientific Games, which prints the tickets for the Georgia Lottery, did not seek Kyle’s permission to use the logo again” and the Georgia Lottery went ahead with the game and grossed profits of $2.4 million in 2005 and $2.6 million in 2007, the paper reports.

In Monday’s 4-3 ruling, the state Supreme Court said that “the Georgia Lottery is shielded from liability by sovereign immunity,” the AJC reports, and that Kyle and another involved party, Frank Mankovitch “failed to legally establish trademark rights for their logo.”[more]

Meanwhile, Minnesota’s Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel, which opened in 1984 as just a little bingo hall and has grown to hold 1,250 slot machines and 378 rooms, is unhappy with Las Vegas casino-supply company Gaming Support USA Inc., which has called its casino-signage business “JackpotJunction” for the more than five years, according to IPBrief.net.

Both sides have filed suit on the other. “Gaming Support argues (that) the Minnesota Casino’s ‘Jackpot Junction’ name is not famous; therefore, it is entitled to only a narrow scope of trademark protection,” IP Brief reports.

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