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October 22, 2014

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Double Down Saloon hits Texas business with trademark suit

The Double Down Lounge in Austin, Texas, was hit with a trademark infringement lawsuit Tuesday by the Double Down Saloons in Las Vegas and New York.

Double Down Inc., owner of the Las Vegas saloon on Paradise Road, and Double Down NYC LLC, owner of the bar on Avenue A in New York City, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas against JLM Bar Group LLC, owner of the Austin lounge.

Double Down Inc. owns 70 percent of the New York saloon business, the lawsuit says.

The suit accuses the Texas bar owner of trademark infringement and false advertising. Because it has a website called doubledownaustin.com, it's also accused of "cybersquatting," or using a website domain name similar to a famous trademarked name.

The Las Vegas and New York clubs say in the lawsuit they've used the Double Down trademark since at least as early as 1992 and that the Las Vegas bar received a federal trademark registration for the Double Down Saloon name for restaurant and tavern services in 2006. A second trademark registration was received last year for casino services and live musical performances.

The Las Vegas club has received national attention and is noted for advertising saying it's "The Happiest Place on Earth" where patrons are encouraged to drink, smoke and gamble.

With drinks like "ass juice" and "bacon martinis," it's also known as a place with "hot chicks, bums, punks, hipsters, bohemians, rockabilly greasers and regular joes;" and where entertainers and Hollywood types kick back away from the tourists.

Tuesday's lawsuit asserts: "The Double Down plaintiffs own the exclusive right to use the Double Down marks in connection with restaurant and tavern services, and in connection with gaming entertainment and live performances by musicians and musical groups."

The suit charges that beginning in March 2010 the Austin business has infringed on the Las Vegas and New York trademarks. The Las Vegas and New York plaintiffs also claim the Texas lounge uses a gaming theme to brand and promote itself and hosts live musical performances.

The Las Vegas and New York clubs charge in their lawsuit they demanded via a registered-mail cease and desist letter that the Texas business stop infringing on their trademarks, but that the Texas business has continued to do so.

"The similarity between the defendant Double Down's Double Down Lounge mark and the Double Down plaintiffs' Double Down marks creates a likelihood of confusion among consumers who may falsely believe that defendant Double Down's Double Down Lounge mark is associated with" the Las Vegas and New York saloons, the lawsuit charges.

A message for comment on the lawsuit was left with the Austin lounge.

In September 2009, the Las Vegas and New York Double Downs successfully sued a tavern in Plattsmouth, Neb., that called itself "Double Down Sports Bar & Grill"

That case was resolved in December 2009 when the company that owns the Nebraska bar agreed to an injunction barring it from any use of the Double Down name, mark and logos.

The Las Vegas and New York Double Down saloons are represented in the litigation by attorneys with the Las Vegas law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP.

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  1. Trademarks are trademarks. Too bad nobody here except Pj has any sense about "intellectual property." Does anybody know how much it costs to obtain a trademark? I do. Does anybody know what is required to protect a trademark? I do. Does anybody know what it means to build a business from scratch and hope to create a recognized and trademarked brand that has value?

    You folks are penny ante players. Seriously.