The house did not win: UK court rejects claim for passing-off and trademark infringement of Monte-Carlo marks

A UK court has rejected a claim for passing-off and trademark infringement of the marks Monte-Carlo (registered in 2009) and Casino De Monte-Carlo (registered in 2010) brought against Anglofile International Ltd trading under the name ‘Monte Carlo Casino Entertainment’ (the defendant).

The claimant is the owner of Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco, founded in 1863, in which the Monaco government and the royal family have a majority interest. The defendant is a UK company trading under the name ‘Monte Carlo Casino Entertainment’ since 1995, providing casino entertainment at weddings, corporate functions and charity events.

The court dismissed the trademark infringement claim and found no likelihood of confusion because, although there was a moderate level of similarity between the claimant’s registered marks and the defendant’s trading name, consumers would exercise a high degree of attention when, for example, booking entertainment. Therefore consumers are unlikely to be confused. The court also found that there was no evidence of actual confusion after many years of trade and the defendant’s earlier use of its trading name was honest, had not been without due cause and it could have relied on the ‘own-name defence’…

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