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Trademark Debate Settled Between 32Red and William Hill

15 February 2011 by admin

The argument over whether or not William Hill violated the trademark of 32Red has been going on since August of 2009. The story goes that William Hill launched a new online casino that they had dubbed 32Vegas. I am sure even you can see the similarity between 32Red and 32Vegas. Naturally 32Red gave their lawyers a call and set them to work on settling the matter.

Since legal action began back in 2009, William Hill rebranded 32Vegas as 21Nova. The problem was that 32Vegas was still being used to drive traffic from 32Vegas to 21Nova. The lawyers of 32Red put in that they felt that this was an infringement of their logo on the part of William Hill. The lost revenue, according to 32Red, is because online casino patrons were wagering and playing at 32Vegas thinking it was a part of the 32Red online casino family since the names were so similar.

After a year and a half the claims of trademark infringement and lost revenue were brought before a London High Court earlier this month. William Hill had requested that the case be kept private and out of the public’s eyes. The judge overseeing the case refused the request on the grounds that the public had a right to know what was happening. Now I think this was smart on the judge’s part—the public does have a right to know if there is the potential that they were being misled and not playing within the online casino group that they thought they were.

The lawyers of 32Red presented their claims of trademark infringement and how it led to revenue gains on for William Hill. It was also revealed in court that the player emails collected on 32Vegas were still being used to drive traffic to 21Nova. The 32Red side of the proceedings ended with 32Red’s lawyers requesting that the 32Vegas name be removed entirely in all possible places.

Then it was William Hill’s lawyers’ turn. They claimed that the since the name of the online casino had been changed from 32Vegas to 21Nova, the issue should have died there. As for William Hill’s affiliate, they belong to Affiliates United and that they are therefore not in direct contact with their affiliates; this means that it would be too hard for them to get the 32Vegas name removed and taken out of circulation.

Finally it came time for the judge to rule. And he ruled in favor of 32Red. According to the judge’s rule, an injunction has been granted that is to keep William Hill from using the name and trademark of 32Vegas anywhere in the European Union. In addition William Hill has to publish the judge’s ruling on their largest websites to get the word out to as many players at William Hill online casinos as possible, giving players who thought they were playing in a 32Red owned online casino the opportunity to leave and return to their preferred online casino.

As for the judge’s ruling on the loss of revenue and compensation paid to 32Red, the judge has decided that he will send his ruling on the matter in two weeks time in writing. The lawyers of 32Red have asked for repayment of 32Red’s court costs—which have been significant at this point—from the case. They have also requested an inquiry into how much revenue has been lost due to the trademark infringement. William Hill will have to turn in its financial performance records of 32Vegas from January of 2009 to July 31, 2009; also they have to turn in the financial performance records of the sites that were alleged to drive traffic to 32Vegas.

The judge’s written ruling will come towards the end of February. It has not been disclosed if the financial and compensation portion of the ruling will be made public or not. But at this point 32Red is happy that they won their trademark battle.

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