MGM Resorts International is suing four individuals and two companies it claims have been infringing on its trademarks by registering poker website names that include the names of MGM casinos in Las Vegas.
With the names of some of the sites having been registered as early as 2002 and 2005, it appears from the timing of the suit that MGM Resorts could benefit from the lawsuit by making sure there’s no confusion in cyberspace about ownership of the sites should online poker be legalized in the United States and should MGM Resorts then participate in that industry.
A request for comment was placed with MGM Resorts attorneys on that issue.
A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Thursday covered these sites: bellagioonlinepoker.com, circuscircuspoker.com, excaliburpoker.com, luxorpoker.com, mandalaybayonlinepoker.com, mgmpoker.com and ariapoker.com.
The registrants of the names intended to profit off the casinos’ “substantial fame, goodwill and consumer recognition,” the lawsuit charges.
These casino names became famous because MGM Resorts and its predecessors spent billions of dollars advertising and promoting them over many years, and the defendants are now trying to capitalize on that investment to the detriment MGM Resorts, the lawsuit charges.
“The defendants have or have had a bad faith intent to profit from their registration of the domain names,” charges the suit, which alleges the defendants have been involved in either “cybersquatting” — the use of other’s trademarks to earn a profit online — or trademark infringement, or in some cases both.
“The defendants have done nothing more than tack on the descriptive terms ‘poker’ or ‘online poker’ to each of the MGM marks to form the domain names. Accordingly, there is no question that the domain names are confusingly similar to the MGM marks,” MGM Resorts’ attorneys said in a request for a temporary restraining order that would block the defendants from using those names.
The defendants couldn’t immediately be located for comment on the suit, filed by attorneys at the Las Vegas office of the law firm Lewis and Roca LLP.
The defendants are:
• Shahram Kolahzadeh, believed to be a resident of Zimbabwe who allegedly registered the ariapoker name.
• Evan Krentzman of Woodland Hills, Calif., allegedly the owner of the bellagioonlinepoker name.
• Roberto Ciamillo of Shelby Township, Mich., allegedly the owner of the circuscircuspoker name.
• Adam Majewski of McKinney, Texas, allegedly the owner of the excaliburpoker.com name.
• PokerSons, an entity based in London that allegedly owns the luxorpoker.com and mgmpoker.com names.
• RevNet, an entity in Hackensack, N.J., that allegedly owns the mandalaybayonlinepoker.com name.