The United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky on Monday dismissed a trademark infringement case brought by the Oaklawn Jockey Club and various other racetracks against Encore Racing Based Games and Kentucky Downs. The suit involved Encore's historic horse race system and alleged that Encore had infringed upon the Plaintiffs' trademarks by using the racetracks' names to identify the location where historic horse races had taken place.
The Court dismissed the suit in its entirety, stating that Encore is “fully within their rights to describe where an event took place in their wagering system without implying the owners of the racetrack are sponsoring the game…[Encore is] protected by the fair use defense when describing where an event took place, even when the location described is most commonly conveyed using a registered trademark…Plaintiffs have failed to allege plausible facts which would justify this matter proceeding beyond this motion to dismiss…Therefore, the Court grants Defendants' motion and dismisses Plaintiffs' claims in their entirety.”
“We are grateful that the Court once again dismissed a lawsuit that would have severely limited growth in the historic horse racing market,” commented Encore President Jeremy Stein. “Encore is committed to the long term health of the racing and breeding industries, and we are proud that the Encore system and games continue to generate record handle numbers and significant revenue for the horse industry in Kentucky and Wyoming. Monday's ruling will allow us to continue growing while looking to bring historic horse racing revenue to new racing jurisdictions.”
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