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International Bancorp, LLC v. Societe des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Estrangers a Monaco

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
329 F.3d 359 (2003)


Societe des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Estrangers a Monaco (SBM) (defendant) was a company based in Monaco that owned and operated resorts and casinos in Monte Carlo, including the Casino de Monte Carlo, which had been in operation since 1863. The name of the casino was registered as a trademark in Monaco but not in the United States. SBM only provided services abroad, but maintained a staff in New York to advertise in the United States. International Bancorp, LLC (Bancorp) (plaintiff) operated more than 150 online gambling websites, including more than 50 of which used the name “Casino de Monte Carlo” in some form in their domain names. These websites showed pictures of the actual physical Casino de Monte Carlo, and implied that the websites were affiliated with it. Bancorp brought suit against SBM seeking a declaratory judgment that Bancorp was entitled to use these domain names, and SBM counterclaimed alleging trademark infringement among other claims. The district court ruled in favor of SBM on the trademark-infringement claim. Bancorp appealed, alleging that SBM did not have a protectable interest in the name because it was not used in commerce.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Luttig, J.)

Dissent (Motz, J.)

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