Paddy Power’s Australian betting business Sportsbet is suing its rival bookmaker CrownBet over the latter’s plan to trademark the Sportingbet name, arguing that the move would harm its own business as the two brands sound very similar, Australian legal news outlet Lawyerly reports.
CrownBet was selected in March as the preferred bidder for William Hill’s Australian business in a deal valued at A$300 million. It is also important to note that CrownBet and Sportsbet were actually the two finalists in the highly competitive bidding process for William Hill Australia.
The British bookmaker made its foray into the Australian sports betting market in 2013 when it purchased the local operations of the Sportingbet brand as well as the Centrebet and Tom Waterhouse brands in a £460-million deal. The company later on brought all three under the William Hill Australia brand. Despite its global recognition, William Hill never managed to gain footing in the highly competitive Australian space and announced early in 2018 that it was looking to sell its local business.
CrownBet’s CEO Matt Tripp and his family had once owned the Sportingbet brand. In a recent interview the gambling executive said that his father was particularly happy about having the brand back in the family.
Reports emerged last month that CrownBet was considering to rebrand as Sportingbet following the William Hill Australia acquisition. It was understood that the operator filed a trademark application last month. It also submitted an application with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to reserve the Sportingbet Pty Ltd name earlier in June.
CrownBet’s Rebranding Could Harm Sportsbet’s Business
In a June 21 statement of claims, Sportsbet said that Crownbet’s rebranding could violate its own trademark as the Sportsbet and Sporting brands sound very similar. The operator went on that the move was a “flagrant disregard” of its rights as the Sportsbet trademark owner.
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It was also understood that Sportsbet, through its legal representatives, has sent a letter to CrownBet, urging the latter to withdraw its trademark application. CrownBet, in return, denied the request, pointing out that it intended to operate under the Sportingbet brand.
Sportsbet is concerned that the Sportingbet mark would mislead customers as many might think it is related to the Paddy Power-owned Australian operator. The company also believes that CrownBet is violating the Australian Consumer Law with its application to use a trademark so similar to the Sportsbet one.
A case management hearing is set to take place on July 25 before Justice Barry Beach, Lawyerly reports.
News about CrownBet being sued by its rival came as the company is in the middle of another acquisition deal, although it is the entity that is being purchased in this one. Canadian gambling giant The Stars Group announced in March that it would acquire 80% in the Australian operator thus securing its entry into Australia’s highly lucrative sports betting market.