Las Vegas Sands – the worldwide famous American casino corporation – decided last year that its new entertainment and services resort “Eurovegas” will be located in Spain. The enormous investment planned for the owner Mr. Sheldon Adelson for the next ten years, was finally awarded to Alcorcon, a city near Madrid, in a decision that took place last February.
As always, speculative registrations of new domain names started much sooner thanks to the massive diffusion of the project by the media. Eurovegasspain.com (on sale; registered May 2012) or Eurovegasairport.es (on sale; registered October 2012) are a tiny example of this behavior which is well known by practitioners and should not be news for anybody. However the recent NAF decision dated 5th March 2013 regarding the domain name “eurovegashardrock.com” has brought our curiosity. Could all domainers be wrong and their registrations (especially those filed under ccTLD “.es”) far less than “interesting”?.
The case is pretty simple. A speculative registration of the “eurovegashardrock.com” domain name last October, provoked that Hard Rock Cafe International, Inc filed suit against the owner, a Spanish individual who argued that the domain name was planned to address a site offering information about hard-rock concerts and events taking place at Eurovegas.
However and surprisingly, Hard Rock Café also contended that the company was planning to open a café within the future entertainment resort Eurovegas that is being built in Hungary. Did Mr. Adelson betray our fellow citizens and chose Hungary instead the beautiful Madrid countryside?.
A quick look to OHIM database reveals that neither Las Vegas Sands nor Hard Rock own any CTM bearing the name EUROVEGAS but a Spanish company and an individual do. It is indisputable that – at least in Spain - the word EUROVEGAS is firmly linked with Las Vegas Sands’ future resort in Spain. Spanish trademark act acknowledges full trademark rights to non-registered signs when these have become notorious amongst the consumers, which would be probably the case but could Mr. Adelson prove at Court having a better right than those already registered?. The additional facts that Hard Rock’s complex in Hungary has actually stopped and that Las Vegas Sands filed a CTM application for EUROPA VEGAS which is pending due opposition, amount uncertainty to the situation. What will be next? Let’s wait and see while the roulette still spinning.