Las Vegas casino operators hit with patent lawsuits

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Las Vegas casinos are facing two new lawsuits alleging infringements of others’ patents relating to email and online marketing.

One suit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas by a little-known company called Email Link Corp. of Newport Beach, Calif., against casino operators Treasure Island LLC, Wynn Resorts Ltd., Las Vegas Sands Corp., Cosmopolitan Hotels & Resorts Inc., MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Hard Rock Hotel Holdings LLC.

Also named in the suit was Hilton Worldwide Inc. of McLean, Va., which licenses its name to the Las Vegas Hilton.

Tuesday’s suit claims the defendants have been infringing on a patent received by Email Link in November called the "176 Patent."

Email Link claims in its suit the defendants have been transmitting "email communications to past, present, and potential future customers that contain links to data comprising website pages" owned by the defendants.

While this sounds like a common online marketing technique, Email Link complained in its lawsuit that this violates its “Information Distribution and Processing System" patent.

A look at the patent shows it’s quite complex and relates "generally to information distribution, and more particularly to distributing information using a broadcast channel and a bi-directional communication channel."

Email Link says it has been assigned the patent from inventor Hark Chan of Cupertino, Calif., and owns all rights to it including the "right to prosecute this action and recover past, present and future damages from the infringements alleged herein."

The suit seeks a declaration that Email Link’s patent has been infringed on and unspecified damages.

Las Vegas Sands, in the meantime, and several nongaming companies were named in another patent lawsuit Thursday in Marshall, Texas, filed by Webvention LLC of Marshall.

Webvention says it’s an intellectual-property licensing company that has been licensing its "294 patent," which it says is "directed to structures and methods for organizing, presenting and accessing information."

Webvention says 299 companies have licensed the patent including Google, Nokia, Sears, Sony and Orbitz.

Thursday’s lawsuit charges Las Vegas Sands and the other defendants – ranging from Campbell Soup to Eveready to Nissan to Toyota – have been infringing on the 294 patent.

Sands is accused of "making, selling, offering for sale and/or using websites, including but not limited to www.lasvegassands.com, www.venetian.com, and www.palazzo.com, that practice or embody the patented invention."

The casino operators and Hilton have not yet responded to these lawsuits.

In a third patent lawsuit, Content Interactive LLC of Frisco, Texas, filed suit in February in federal court in Las Vegas against Cox Communications Inc., Hospitality Networks LLC and Fiesta Palms LLC, owner of the Palms hotel-casino.

That suit alleged infringements of Content Interactive’s video on demand patent issued in 2002.

The defendants have denied the allegations and attorneys for the defendants in June hit Content Interactive with a counterclaim seeking to invalidate its "693 patent."

The law firms suing Cox, Hospitality Networks and the Palms on behalf of Content Interactive are the same firms that sued the casino operators and Hilton on Wednesday.

They are Fernald Law Group in Las Vegas and Nelson Bumgardner Casto of Fort Worth, Texas.

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  1. People get cute and patent common Internet practices. In most cases once the lawsuits start they have been tossed out in the past.

    A few years back a company got the patent for "on-line video" yet they never developed a product, just got the patent. They sued 100's of people and never got a cent.

    The getting rich in court is going to end up costing taxpayers millions. Companies being sued must defend so their costs go up, our cost goes up.

    At some point the laws are going to have to change.

  2. Our patent laws really need to change. This is getting ridiculous, costly and damaging the desire to innovate.