Kobe Bryant protects “The Black Mamba” Trademark

Via my post on Seattle Copyright and Trademark:

Attorneys on behalf of Kobe Bryant have filed a Notice of Opposition against a Los Angeles company over the application to use The Black Mamba.

The company, 47/72, Inc., has until March 12th to file an answer.

The Notice of Opposition filed on January 31st claims that the intent to use the retired Lakers’ longtime nickname would cause a likelihood of confusion, false suggestion of a connection and the name consists of the name of a living individual without his consent.

The applicant filed an “intent to use” application (had not used the mark but intended to do so in the future) less than a week after Bryant’s last game in the NBA.  The intent was to apparently sell clothing online.  According to the Notice of Opposition the company has attempted to trademark famous phrases for its own benefit.  Examples include “To Infinity and Beyond,” “Let it Go,” and “Nanu Nanu.”

Bryant’s attorneys had filed a Letter of Protest in May 2016 which was forwarded to the Examining Attorney.  The applicant mark was opposed after it was published for opposition.  Bryant’s attorneys requested and received an extension to file its opposition.

The case reflects the vigilance it takes to protect an existing trademark.  It will also be an interesting case to see how the USPTO looks at this issue if the applicants decide to pursue the mark.

British court comes down on pair that allowed minors to bet on EA video game

A British court has ordered two men to pay fines and costs for breaking gambling laws as their web site allowed minors to gamble on Premier League Football matches using a virtual currency.

The Guardian reports that FutGalaxy was a “social gaming” website which had no age restrictions and let minors use a credit card to place bets in a virtual currency earned on Electronic Art’s FIFA soccer video game.

The site made the equivalent $120,000 US dollars from July 2015 to February 2016.

His You Tube video enticed gamers to go to the site advertising that there were “no age restrictions.”

FutGalaxy took bets on matches played in the UK, France, Germany and Italy.

Oregon bill would define DFS as “contest of chance”

House Bill 2761 was introduced in the State of Oregon which defines daily fantasy sports as a “contest of chance” for purposes of gambling and gaming laws.

The bill would effectively ban daily fantasy sports in the state.

The regulation of Daily Fantasy Sports varies from state to state with many looking to define it as a “game of skill” which would preclude it from certain gambling laws.

The bill was first introduced on Monday, February 6, 2017 so the road for this piece of legislation has a way to go.

New York introduces bill to legalize online poker

Last week, New York legislators introduced a bill that would make online poker a game of skill.

Specifically, the bill reads:

Allows certain interactive poker games be considered games of skill rather than games of luck; includes definitions, authorization, required safeguards and minimum standards, the scope of licensing review and state tax implications; makes corresponding penal law amendments

The bill was introduced by Republican Senator John Conacic.

The bill goes into detail discussing the differences between a contest of chance and one of skill and evaluate poker as one of skill.

We will see if this will gain any traction.  States such as Washington which has contemplated a bill are likely looking at New York’s legislation and hoping it’s something that pro-poker proponents hope happens.

Valve tries to skin, skin betting in TF2

Valve Corporation announced late last week that it would begin blocking Team Fortress 2 gambling accounts.  This comes on the heels of a skin betting issue in which the state of Washington demanded that the company immediately ban of the transfer of weapons on its Steam platform.

 (via Wikipedia)

The Washington State Gambling Commission determined that skins were used as consideration in illegal gambling on third party web sites.

Valve was sued in Washington state due to allowing an alleged online illegal gaming market.  However, the court dismissed the case on Valve’s motion to dismiss.

The recent move by Valve likely looks to curb additional issues with potential skin betting and lawsuits down the road.

New Jersey advances DFS bill in state Assembly

Will Daily Fantasy Sports become legal in the state of New Jersey?

A bill introduced to legalize Daily Fantasy Sports was approved by the New Jersey state Assembly’s tourism and gaming committee on Monday.  An updated bill established guidelines including a 10.5 percent quarterly tax rate on the gross revenue of all operators.

The legislation would define daily fantasy sports as a “game of skill” versus a “game of chance.”

Some of the key statements within the bill:

the outcome of a game will be determined by statistics generated based on the performance of actual individuals participating in real professional or collegiate athletic events;

all prizes offered to participants will be established and disclosed in advance to all participants;

the outcome will not be based solely on the performance of an individual athlete, or on the score, point spread, or any performance of a single real team or combination of real teams;

The bill imposes an annual registration and renewal fee for all daily fantasy sports providers in an amount equal to 9.25% of daily fantasy sports gross revenue.

  Also, the bill sets forth penalties for violations of the provisions of the bill and regulations

DraftKings gets go ahead in Germany

The Sports Business Daily reports that the Malta Gaming Authority has issued a controlled games skill license to DraftKings to allow the company to operate in the country of Germany and other European nations.  The license allows the company to operate in countries that do not require a local gaming license.

The report notes that the license applies to DraftKings only as the application predated the merger with FanDuel.  Unlike the license it was given in the UK, this one designates daily fantasy sports as a game of skill.

The expansion is big news for the daily fantasy sports company.

The status of legalizing online poker in Washington state

A hearing was held on January 18th before a Washington State Senate Commerce Committee on the future of online poker within the state.

The hearing was held before the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee to discuss the possible regulation and taxation of internet poker and daily fantasy sports.  We have discussed the DFS discussion here.

As for online poker, the committee took testimony from John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance (a grassroots activist group per Pappas) as well as an interesting testimony from a math schoolteacher and avid online poker player.

Pappas spoke about how Washington’s law prohibiting online gaming is one of the strictest criminal penalties for wagering on the internet.  Pappas said that the law was nonsensical and unenforceable.  He hoped that the legislature would look into ways of licensing and regulating online gaming. Pappas asked that online gaming be viewed as a consumer protection issue.

He pointed to New Jersey as a state that has done well in regulating online gaming.

It is a Class C Felony penalty (5 years in prison and/or $10,000 penalty) if someone is caught gambling online in the state, which, according to Pappas is similar to the penalty given to sex offenders.

Online poker is illegal in Washington state despite attempts to repeal the law.  But there’s nothing currently before the legislature regarding repealing the law and/or legalizing online poker.

The Washington State Gambling Commission gave an overview of the Gambling Act.  It noted that Consideration, Chance and Prize are the three issues the commission considers.  The attorney for the commission noted that it has not arrested any players as it stated that it focused more on companies.

The question of what other states are doing with online poker and whether those states that have regulated it determine whether it is a game of skill was a query.  The commission went over states that looked at license fees and what taxes each assessed.

Testimony was also provided by proponents of online poker.

Ernie Stebbins of the Washington Indian Gaming Association noted that tribal gaming were an economic benefit for tribes.  According to Stebbins, on an annual basis for state and local sales tax provides $255 million to the state treasury.

On the other side, the concern of compulsive gambling was an issue raised by those that might be opposed to the legalization of online poker.

There was no bill before the committee which is problematic if there is to be any movement for the state of Washington.

LA Gear files opposition to LA Chargers Trademark

From my Copyright and TM Blog:

The San Diego Chargers NFL franchise is moving up the 5 to Los Angeles.  Among the issues that the franchise had to address is a trademark issue involving its logo.

The franchise, Chargers Football Company, LLC, filed for the mark last January.

The logo has been under criticism by the public and has been opposed by LA Gear.  You might recall LA Gear was popular for footwear back in the 1990s.

The trademark was published for opposition on December 20, 2016 and LA Gear filed an opposition on the same day.

In its Notice of Opposition, LA Gear claims that the proposed mark by the Chargers will be over to the “same classes of consumers and at least through the same channels of trade as Opposer’s (LA Gear’s) Goods.”  its mark will be diminished and dilute “the distinctive quality” of its famous marks.

LA Gear by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The Chargers have until February 7, 2017 to file an Answer.