Court of Appeal dismisses William Hill’s 32Red appeal

Bookmaker William Hill has lost an appeal against a High Court ruling that found the gambling giant’s online casino brand 32Vegas infringed a rival company’s trademarks.

The case was brought by online gambling website 32Red in January 2011, with the company arguing that William Hill’s 32Vegas business, acquired in a $250m transaction from US gaming software development company Playtech, infringed its trademark rights for ’32Red’ and ’32’.

William Hill challenged the High Court’s decision that a two-digit number can be a trademark, but the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling, also supplementing the original judgment with a finding that William Hill had taken unfair advantage of 32Red’s trademarks through adword campaigns.

In their ruling, Appeal Court judges Lord Justices Toulson, Etherton and Kitchin noted a “full-scale, wide-ranging attack on the [High Court judge Mr Justice Henderson’s] analysis and conclusions on virtually every aspect of his judgment by the appellant’s lawyers”.

McDermott Will & Emery IP partner Hiroshi Sheraton instructed 11 South Square’s Michael Silverleaf QC on behalf of 32Red.

11 South Square’s Henry Carr QC, instructed by Linklaters partner Ian Karet, acted for the appellants.