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  1. #1
    The Buzz's Avatar
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    Default More bad news for PartyPoker

    The hits just keep on coming for PartyPoker ...

    PartyGaming plc is facing the prospect of a $287 million compensation claim for trademark infringement following a decision Monday by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

    In the case of WMS Gaming Inc. vs. PartyGaming plc, WMS Gaming argued "persistent, knowing and wilful infringement" of its trademarks by PartyGaming.

    The case centres on WMS's trademarks Jackpot Party and Super Jackpot Party, which PartyGaming is said to have infringed in the years between 2004 and 2006 through "approximate and exact reproductions of the marks."

    After several failed attempts to persuade PartyGaming voluntarily to cease its infringing uses of WMS's marks, WMS filed suit in federal district court seeking injunctive relief, damages, and an equitable accounting of the profits PartyGaming reaped from its use of WMS’s marks in the United States.

    Despite receiving proper notice, PartyGaming chose to ignore WMS's lawsuit, leading in July 2007 to Judge Blanche Manning of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issuing a default judgement against the company, including an award of $2.67 million in damages to WMS.

    The amount of $2.67 million in damages was substantially lower than the $287 million sought by WMS based on PartyGaming's US profits during the period, leading to this appeal which was argued in February of this year and decided on Monday 8th September.

    In their decision, Circuit Judges Rovner, Wood and Williams said they agreed with WMS's argument that "the district court ... made a fundamental error of law by failing to distinguish between WMS's right to the defendants profits and its right to its damages."
    Full story here ... you'll need to register an account, but it's free to set one up. http://gamingintelligencegroup.com/g...t/view/1351/2/

  2. #2
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    Link goes to a "registration page" - most unhelpful.


    But who on earth are WMS Gaming Inc? Anyone heard of them before this?
    Is this a variant of the "patent trolls"? Do we now have "trademark trolls"?

    And can they REALLY trademark generic terms like Jackpot Party and Super Jackpot Party for slot machines?

    Trademark law is getting sillier and sillier.

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    WMS I am pretty sure are MASSIVE - I am sure when I go to G2E and ICE they have massive stands like IGT - Completely land based though
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexpratt View Post
    WMS I am pretty sure are MASSIVE - I am sure when I go to G2E and ICE they have massive stands like IGT - Completely land based though
    So they can trackmark terms like Jackpot Party for physical slots and then chase Party Gaming for using a similar Jackpot term for online casino play?

    Really?! Still sounds very dodgy to me.


    I must find out how to TM the terms WIN, BONUS and CASH and have them apply across the board .... I'd be rich ...

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    got to watch those land based casinos, after all look at what harrahs achieved in the states with the help of sntr frist!

    casinos are animals when it comes to enforcing copyright.... will be most interesting to see offline v online in the gaming world in court together!



    Quote Originally Posted by TheGooner View Post
    So they can trackmark terms like Jackpot Party for physical slots and then chase Party Gaming for using a similar Jackpot term for online casino play?

    Really?! Still sounds very dodgy to me.


    I must find out how to TM the terms WIN, BONUS and CASH and have them apply across the board .... I'd be rich ...

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    This is the thing I met a guy that invented 3 card poker or something similar - I think his name was Derick something - Anyway he was setting out to sue all the online software companies and operators as they wern't paying him a fee to use the game like the land based guys did. I think in the end one of the software companies did a deal with him (Wagerworks or Playtech)

    Anyway - the argument was that he only owned the patent in Europe and the US so the online guys said they wern't infingeing it as it was all about where the bet took place i.e. the servers in some offshore location so the game was actually being played there and not in that persons home??? I don't know what happend in the end - I think this Derick guy was busy suing Shuffle master at the time so was waiting for that to finish before he went after us
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGooner View Post
    Link goes to a "registration page" - most unhelpful.

    As stated in the original post, free registration for the site is required.

  8. #8
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    What would the point of having trademark laws if i had a "Jackpot Party" slot machine brand trademark and someone can use the name for an online slot? Basically anyone could create a virtual brand to compete with a physical product and steal the original company's name?

    WMS is slot machine company. Anyone in the US who played pinball in the 60s, 70's, 80's will remember them as the company that made Defender, Gorgar (first talking slot), Firepower. In the 50's they made the baseball games, where you hit the big metal button to swing the bat.
    a bunch of the games they've done xxxhttp://www.ipdb.org/search.pl?any=williams&searchtype=quick
    Last edited by AmCan; 15 September 2008 at 11:22 pm.

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    You mean like a Computer company could take a record labels name?
    Like Apple? Oh - that happened.

    Trademarks are usually registered very specifically for a narrow defined use, and they can and are used across other products when the mark includes a common use word.

    I'd have thought that JACKPOT was one such common use word when it came to gambling.

    Perhaps online slots and physical slots are a closer match - but hey no-one playing an online slot really thinks that they're running a physical machine do they?

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    "You mean like a Computer company could take a record labels name?
    Like Apple? Oh - that happened."

    Apple was sued, successfully, by the Beatles and reached agreement where they paid money to Apple Records and agreed to not use the Apple name in anything related to music.

    A couple years back, as the iPod and iTunes took off, the Beatles filed suit again because Apple had broken the agreement and again made a deal with Apple.

    Apple is a perfect example of very common word that was already trademarked in one industry, only it belonged to the Beatles. Neither the Beatles or Apple wanted the court to decide who really had the rights (or if they were each distinct and could co-exist), lest either lose, so they cut a deal.

    Microsoft tried to trademark Windows across the entire computer universe, so they could prevent other software companies (at the time digital research, novell) from calling the windows in their OS Shells 'windows'. MS didn't get their way. we can still call a window a window (but HTML/browsers have helped the term "Frame" to compete).

    My favorite: Anheuser Busch vs Budweiser, Budvar. AB sued to prevent the Czech brewery from using the name Budweiser outside of Czech republic where they had used the name for centuries and where the founder of AB had come to the US from. The British judge said "after tasting both beers, i doubt that anyone would confuse the 2 products!" I'd have to agree, the Czech Bud is a real beer
    Last edited by AmCan; 16 September 2008 at 11:26 am.

  11. #11
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    I have always very much enjoyed playing Jackpot Party and Super Jackpot Party and I do think of them as very specific branded games by WMS.

    In fact, on my last trip to Vegas, I searched out this specific machine in a number of casinos and was surprised and disappointed a number of times because it would often be difficult to find one availailable that was not occupied.

    IMO I think the suit had merit based upon the actual names of those two games and that the word "jackpot" was not being used in the generic sense.

    Party Gaming could have named the game similar to that and not the exact name and would not have been infringing....I think they knew that and named it specifically in order to capitalize on a specific brand.

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