Kerzner International Ltd. v. Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc.

675 F. Supp. 2d 1029 (2009)

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Kerzner International Ltd. v. Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc.

United States District Court for the District of Nevada
675 F. Supp. 2d 1029 (2009)

Facts

Atlantis Lodge, Inc. (Lodge) had federally registered the mark “Atlantis” for lodging services. In October 1994, Lodge licensed the Atlantis mark to Kerzner International Ltd. and Kerzner International Resorts (Kerzner) (plaintiff) for use in the grand reopening of Kerzner’s casino resort in The Bahamas under the name “Atlantis, Paradise Island.” Kerzner extensively advertised the casino in the United States, and the media covered the casino’s reopening in December 1994. Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc. (Monarch) (defendant) had used the Atlantis mark in connection with restaurant and other services at its Reno, Nevada resort since 1992. In February 1996, Lodge licensed the Atlantis mark to Monarch for use in connection with lodging services. In April 1996, Monarch’s resort began operating under the name “Atlantis Casino Resort.” Kerzner subsequently acquired the Atlantis mark from Lodge and federally registered the mark for casino services, claiming that the mark was first used for casino services in October 1994. Subsequently, Kerzner and Monarch each developed plans to open Las Vegas casino resorts under the Atlantis mark, and a dispute arose over which could use the mark. Kerzner sued Monarch for trademark infringement in federal court in Nevada. Monarch filed a partial-summary-judgment motion, asserting that Monarch had priority of use of the Atlantis mark for casino services in the United States. The district court found that Monarch had first used the mark for casino services in April 1996, reasoning that Monarch’s 1992 use of the mark for restaurant services was not so closely related to casino services that one would naturally expect Monarch’s use of the mark to expand into the casino-services field. Monarch asserted that even using the April 1996 date, Monarch had priority of use under the territoriality principle (i.e., the principle that priority of use depends only on United States use) because Kerzner’s 1994 use of the mark had occurred in The Bahamas.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Reed, J.)

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