After a difficult November, daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators will need to buckle up for an even more challenging road ahead. Things looked grim for the DFS industry last month, after New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman delivered cease-and-desist orders to FanDuel and DraftKings, ordering them to stop taking bets in New York. Though the DFS industry had faced obstacles before, this was the strongest blow against them, especially in the state where FanDuel is headquartered, and from which the largest number of DFS players hail. But both sites vowed to fight back, and have been embroiled in a tough legal battle ever since.
Blog Posts by Richard L. Brand
New York's Top Regulator Steps In
On November 10, New York's attorney general ordered DraftKings and FanDuel to stop accepting bets from the state's residents, arguing the games constituted illegal gambling. The cease-and-desist order is the most recent in a string of setbacks for the burgeoning multi-billion-dollar industry that intertwines betting with fantasy sports.
Critically for DraftKings and FanDuel, the move by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman could create a domino effect, leading other states to take similar action. For their part, fantasy sports companies say the games are not gambling because they involve skill and are legal due to a 2006 federal law that exempts fantasy sports from a ban against processing online sports betting.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently obtained a temporary injunction to stop a Florida-based sweepstakes operation that has taken more than $28 million from consumers in the United States and abroad. The defendants used deceptive practices to defraud consumers in connection with false prize notifications.
FTC & Prize Promotions
Yesterday, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) cancelled six registrations related to the Washington Redskins professional football team. The TTAB found the marks violated Section 2(a) of the Federal Lanham Act, which bars registration of trademarks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute.
While this is a setback for Pro Football, Inc., the owner of the WASHINGTON REDSKINS trademarks, it is certainly not the end of the story. The team has already announced that it will appeal the decision to federal court. Furthermore, the TTAB decision only covers the right to register the trademarks. It does not impact the team’s right to use the trademarks, nor does it impact the team’s common law trademark rights, which are based on use of the marks in commerce.
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