Resorts World: Building will look different from Wynn, Encore

A view of the Encore and Wynn resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, Dec. 26, 2017.

The company building a multibillion-dollar casino-resort with a modern Asian flair on the Las Vegas Strip defended itself in court filings this week arguing it is not copying its building design from two properties across the street.

Developers of the planned Resorts World Las Vegas on Thursday responded to a federal trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Wynn Resorts last month that claims the property under construction is similar to the Wynn and Encore casino-resorts on the Strip. The long-delayed project is expected to open in late-2020.

Resorts World in its response said the lawsuit "suffers from a fatal flaw" because it is predicated on "speculative extrapolation regarding the appearance" of the unfinished casino-resort.

"With nearly two years left to go before opening, (Resorts World Las Vegas) today consists of a bare, skeletal structure covered by a few floors of window paneling," the attorneys for Resorts World wrote in the response. "Upon completion, (Resorts World Las Vegas) will look dramatically different from Wynn's properties, dispelling any suggestion that a reasonable consumer could confuse the two resorts for each other."

The $4 billion project on the Strip's northern end is expected to include 3,400 rooms, a 100,000-square-foot casino, a variety of dining options with authentic Asian cuisines and abundant retail space. Its target demographic will be the destination's Asian tourism.

Malaysia-based Genting Group is developing the project. The company owns resort-casinos around the world and bought the Las Vegas property in 2013 from Boyd Gaming for $350 million. Boyd had started building a hotel complex on the site of the former Stardust casino when the recession hit, leaving the steel-and-concrete skeleton of the project standing dormant.

The project's initial target opening was 2016.

Wynn's lawsuit filed in federal court in Las Vegas argues that Resorts World's building is substantially similar to the Wynn and Encore casino-resorts, adopting without authorization its "trade dress" that in part consists of a "three-dimensional building with concave facade, and curved, bronze glass, coupled with horizontal banding above and between the lines of glass panes."

Wynn said Resorts World is misleading the public into thinking the planned resort is "affiliated with, sponsored by or associated with" Wynn.

In a statement released Friday evening, Wynn said: "Resorts World's newly created exterior renderings, dated 2019 and well after the filing of our complaint, are merely drawings which do not reflect the actual construction directly across the street from our resort. We will continue to pursue our legal claims and injunctive relief in this matter."

Resorts World's response to the lawsuit included previously undisclosed renderings of its building with facades in red and orange hues. The company said some of its representatives met with Wynn executives, including CEO Matt Maddox, in July and showed them renderings and an animated video of a since-modified design that appeared "more similar to Wynn's than the current" one.

Resorts World said it did not hear from Wynn until the complaint was filed last month.

"Given that Wynn was aware at least six months ago of (Resorts World Las Vegas) design renderings that arguably looked more similar to Wynn's properties than do the current renderings, its heavy-handed, holiday-timed filing appears more directed at shutting down construction of a business competitor than avoiding any hypothetical confusion of customers two years down the road," Resorts World's attorneys wrote in the response.