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Poker guide publisher sues over alleged trademark infringement

Updated Friday, Dec. 11, 2009 | 9:07 p.m.

A poker guide publisher in Southern Nevada is suing companies and individuals it claims have violated its trademarks by associating themselves with competing Web sites.

Two Plus Two Publishing LLC of Henderson filed suit in federal court in Las Vegas on Dec. 4 against Anthony Scocozza of Scranton, Pa.; and on Tuesday sued Jacknames.com and an individual, "domainer" and poker player Russell Aaron "Dutch" Boyd, both of Las Vegas.

Two Plus Two, founded by Mason Malmuth, says in its lawsuits it's a leading authority on poker and gambling strategy and has sold more than 2 million books worldwide since 1987. It also operates the Two Plus Two online "forums and poker information community," which have been online since 1997.

Two Plus Two says its online business caters to hundreds of thousands of individual members and poker theory customers worldwide.

In its suit against Scocozza, Two Plus Two charges that on Jan. 28 of this year he registered an Internet domain name that uses the phrase "Two Plus Two" and it infringes Two Plus Two's trademarks.

The Henderson company claims Scocozza linked his allegedly infringing domain name to an Internet site providing information and links to poker strategy and online gaming services that compete with Two Plus Two.

Tuesday's lawsuit claims Jacknames and Boyd on July 14, 2004, registered a domain name using the phrase "Two Plus Two" and the word "poker;" and linked the domain name to a poker strategy and gaming services Web site.

The suits assert claims of cybersquatting, or putting up Web sites intended to divert customers from a trademarked site by using identical or confusingly similar names; trademark infringement, unfair competition, deceptive trade practices and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. The Scocozza complaint includes a copyright count.

"Defendants' actions have disrupted or are intended to disrupt Two Plus Two’s business by, among other things, diverting web users away from Two Plus Two’s Web sites and forums," both lawsuits charge.

Two Plus Two's suits were filed by attorneys with the Las Vegas law office of Greenberg Traurig LLP.

Scocozza said in an e-mail that he had nothing to do with the Web site at issue in the lawsuit against him.

Boyd responded to the lawsuit with this e-mailed statement: "It is never fun to be sued, especially by someone you look up to and respect professionally.''

"Mason Malmuth is a genius poker theorist and poker author and his books are largely responsible for much of my own success in poker, including my World Series of Poker bracelet.

"Personally, however, Mason has shown over and over that he is a bully and willing to outspend his perceived adversaries into submission.

"The lawsuit he is bringing against me is based on a domain name that he currently owns: `twoplustwopoker.com.' It is without merit and is designed to encourage me to pay him off or face a substantial legal bill defending myself against it.

"Unfortunately, the strategy will work, and he will be successful in wasting both of our time and money as well as the Nevada taxpayers' money. The only people who will be coming out ahead in this game is Mr. Malmuth's overpriced attorneys."

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