A U.S. federal court has tossed out a lawsuit brought by several horse racing tracks who were after a gaming company over the latter’s use of track names.
The suit involved electronic gambling machines maker Encore Racing Based Games, which came out with a historic horse race system that allows players to bet in a pari-mutuel fashion. The results and the races include the names of the venues in which they were run, prompting well-known race tracks such as Oak Lawn Jockey Club to sue the gaming company.
In its lawsuit, the race track complaint that Encore had “infringed upon the plaintiff’s trademarks by using the race tracks’ names to identify the location where historic horse races had taken place,” according to the Paulick Report.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, however, didn’t buy Oak Lawn’s claims, saying 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.”
In addition, the court said 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.”
The federal court pointed out that Oak Lawn “failed to allege plausible facts” in order to justify its case.
Encore President Jeremy Stein welcomed the dismissal of the lawsuit, which he said could severely limit the growth of the historic horse racing market.
“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,” Stein said, according to the report.