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December 19, 2014

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Bellagio sues company over alleged trademark infringement

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Attorneys for the Bellagio hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip are demanding that a Canadian company stop doing business as "Bellagio Limousines.''

The Las Vegas resort filed suit Monday against Bellagio Limousines of the Toronto area in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, alleging the company has been infringing on the resort's trademarks by offering "Bellagio'' limousine services and by promoting its services with an Internet Web site.

A request for comment on the allegations was left with the company Tuesday.

In its lawsuit, the Bellagio hotel-casino said that since it opened in 1998, its trademarks "have become distinctive and famous'' worldwide for resort hotel and casino services including concierge and limousine services.

Bellagio hotel-casino attorneys, with the Las Vegas law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP, charge that in July 2008, Bellagio Limousines registered an Internet domain name and linked it to a Bellagio Limousines Web site offering limousine services in Canada and the United States.

The hotel-casino attorneys charge that the company also promoted its services with telephone numbers starting with the Los Angeles-area area code of 310 and the toll-free 866 area code to attract customers from Nevada and elsewhere throughout the United States and Canada.

At times, the limousine Web site and the company's vehicles included the Bellagio resort's stylized "B;'' and the Web site included images of the resort and its famous fountains, the lawsuit charges.

"By registering and using a domain name containing the Bellagio marks, defendants were and are attempting to trade on the goodwill of Bellagio,'' the lawsuit charges, adding the defendants' intended to divert customers from the hotel-casino Web site to the limousine company Web site.

The hotel-casino, owned by MGM Mirage, said it took its complaint over the domain name to the National Arbitration Forum in April and that after the defendants failed to respond to the complaint there, the forum ordered an Internet registrar to transfer the allegedly infringing domain name to the Bellagio resort.

"Since the ... decision was rendered, defendants have removed the Bellagio "B'' logo from their Web site, but continue to offer services through their infringing Web site and exploit the goodwill associated with the Bellagio marks,'' the hotel-casino charges.

The lawsuit asserts claims including Internet cybersquatting, trademark infringement and dilution, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices.

The suit seeks an injunction prohibiting the defendants from using the hotel-casino trademarks "in commerce or in connection with any business or for any purpose whatsoever;'' and the transfer of the allegedly infringing domain name to the hotel-casino's parent company.

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