What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Court

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The District Court of Nevada has found that Adrenaline Sports’ use of the mark WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS STAYS IN VEGAS infringes the use by The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (“Convention Authority”) of the slogan WHAT HAPPENS HERE STAYS HERE.

In December of 2002, the Convention Authority launched its “Vegas Stories” advertising campaign. All of the commercials ended with a display of the words WHAT HAPPENS HERE STAYS HERE. In April of 2003, defendants began using the mark WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS STAYS IN VEGAS and obtained a Nevada state registration for the trademark.

In looking at all the Sleekcraft factors, the court found that while the marks are not identical, the terms “here” and “in Vegas” are interchangeable, particularly in light of the fact that in this case, both phrases relate unequivocally to Las Vegas. “Consumers who purchase Defendant’s clothing are not likely to stop and consider the difference between ‘Here’ and ‘In Vegas’ before deciding the purchase such clothing.” Thus, even though other factors (including the marketing channels for the two marks) are distinct, the similarities in the marks coupled with the level of care a purchaser might expend in buying schwag, confusion was likely.

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