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Poker News | World Poker News

Everest Files Second Lawsuit Against Harrah’s Over Trademark

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When Everest Poker’s parent company, Ultra Internet Media, filed its initial lawsuit against Harrah’s Entertainment on April 1, 2010, no one expected to hear much from either side until the matter was settled. So when a second lawsuit was filed on June 9, just weeks after the start of the 2010 World Series of Poker, the tension between the two companies became even more apparent. The first lawsuit accused a breach of contract with the sponsorship agreement, but the second focused on a trademark infringement claim.

The basis of the initial filing was the three-year $22.5 million agreement that Ultra Internet Media signed with Harrah’s to make Everest Poker the on-felt sponsor for the 2008-2010 World Series of Poker. Payments were made to Harrah’s for $6.2 million in 2008 and $7.9 million in 2009, but when Ultra Internet Media felt that the contract was breached, they withheld the 2010 payment and filed the suit. The claim was that French ESPN-affiliate broadcasts (on the RTL9 network) of the 2009 Series used a virtual Full Tilt Poker logo on the poker tables instead of Everest Poker’s logo. But upon Ultra’s refusal to pay the 2010 payment of the contract, Harrah’s filed a countersuit against the company.

When the 2010 WSOP got underway in Las Vegas at the end of May, it wasn’t hard to notice that the Everest Poker logo remained on the poker table felts and signs hung from the rafters in the Amazon Ballroom. That was exactly what spurred the latest lawsuit, this one filed by Everest Gaming Ltd, which owns the trademarks in question. The suit claimed that Harrah’s is trying to control the trademark Everest logo and harm the company.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the lawsuit claimed, “The felt on the poker tables being used for the 2010 World Series of Poker features at least one of Everest’s Everest Poker logo trademarks. The Everest Poker trademarks also are on display at the Rio as large banners or wall posters, on the ‘inner rung’ of certain tables used for the 2010 World Series of Poker and on television monitors in the casino displaying the schedule of events.” The paperwork goes on to allege that “defendants are refusing to remove the trademarks in an effort to try to force payment by Everest for defendant’s use of such marks, and in order to bolster the legitimacy of the World Series of Poker in the minds of tournament participants, fans and the viewing public.”

Harrah’s has not yet responded to the latest lawsuit, but in response to the initial court filings, it noted that it gave Everest Poker the exposure it wanted, noting that ESPN broadcasts were available to over 250 million households for over 6,000 hours of programming, and the 2008 and 2009 shows were contracted in over 170 countries. No mention, however, was made of the allegations of replacing the Everest logo with a Full Tilt Poker one.

As of June 15, the table felts and banner placements remained the same in the Rio Convention Center, and Everest Poker was displayed all around. However, there were reports of several police officers in the Rio using scissors to cut something from under some of the poker tables in the Amazon Room, though not all of the tables were affected nor has there been an overall change in the table felts since the start of the 2010 WSOP.

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