The operator’s legal representative Per Ericsson, of law firm Gulliksson, said ATG registered the term ‘Trav och Galopp’ with the Swedish Companies Registration Office in 1973. 

This, Ericsson explained, meant Svenska Spel’s use of the term infringed on ATG’s exclusive rights to the trademark. 

“We have made Svenska Spel aware of this, but Svenska Spel has nevertheless chosen to continue with the use of Trav och Galopp in its marketing for betting on horse racing,” he said. “Therefore, we have now chosen to file a lawsuit against Svenska Spel, which will be tried by the Patent and Market Court.”

Svenska Spel partnered France’s Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) in September this year to launch its Trav och Galopp product, which prompted a war of words between ATG chief executive Hasse Lord Skarplöth and his counterpart at Svenska Spel, Patrik Hofbauer. 

Skarplöth criticised the launch of Svenska Spel Trav och Galopp, which he claimed would siphon off revenue for ATG, and in turn deprive the Swedish racing industry of crucial funding.

Hoffstedt responded in a blog, denying these claims, and arguing that it had instead been in negotiations with the governing body of Swedish racing, Svensk Travsport, over a funding agreement.

Following news of the lawsuit, Skarplöth said that his business “did not mind competition”. 

“ATG thinks that competition is good,” he said. “But the rules and rights that exist must be respected. 

“Protecting our brands is part of our duty to our owners, Svensk Travsport and Svensk Galopp, and all the tens of thousands in the country who work in the equestrian sports industry,” he explained. “ATG is the only gaming company that contributes to the wellbeing of equestrian sports, so this is about protecting the future of Swedish racing.”

Despite Skarplöth’s calls for a mandatory levy on racing profits to be applied for operators, rather than just ATG, Sweden’s Gambling Market Commission (Spelmarknadsutredningen) chair Anna-Lena Sörenson rejected these calls in October. 

ATG reported an 18.3% year-on-year rise in revenue for the third quarter of 2020 to SEK1.38bn (£120.4m/€133.3m/$157.6m), of which Swedish racing revenue made up SEK1.19bn.

Original article: https://igamingbusiness.com/atg-files-trademark-lawsuit-over-svenska-spel-horse-racing-offering/

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