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Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Battle Continues over WSOP Website

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

BY TOM SOMACH

As the 2007 World Series of Poker (WSOP) approaches, a battle over a key web address continues.

Want some info about the upcoming poker mega-tournament, that will be held in Las Vegas starting June 1?

If you’re looking on the Internet, it’s much easier to type in www.wsop.com than www.worldseriesofpoker.com.

So that’s what many people do.

Much to the chagrin of the folks who run the WSOP.

The reason for their unhappiness?

The official website of the WSOP is www.worldseriesofpoker.com, not the much-easier-to-handle www.wsop.com, which the WSOP would prefer to have.

And that’s because something called the World’s Standard of Online Poker currently owns www.wsop.com.

The WSOP wants the shorter domain name www.wsop.com for its official website so much that it’s gone to court over the matter.

In fact, the court battle has been going on for quite a while, with no end in sight, and no light at the end of the tunnel apparent yet for the WSOP.

At www.wsop.com, which appears to be a poker portal, there is information about the court case, but little else.

Sections on the site for “news” and “forums” are blank and simply say “coming soon.”

As for advertisers on the site, there’s only one: Pit Bull Poker (www.pitbullpoker.com).

Regarding the court battle with Harrah’s Entertainment Corp., the corporate owner of the WSOP, over the www.wsop.com domain, Federico Schiavio, owner of the website, states on the site: “In response to the lawsuit I filed against Harrah’s in Los Angeles, Harrah’s has now filed a motion to dismiss my lawsuit..

“I am in the middle of a legal battle with Harrah’s over my ownership of wsop.com, the home of the World’s Standard of Online Poker. This is my registered trademark (and) I worked hard to get this registration, overcoming an initial refusal by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that my trademark was merely descriptive of my services. The Patent and Trademark Office did not find confusion between the World’s Standard of Online Poker and any other trademark, including the World Series of Poker…

“Harrah’s, a multi-billion dollar company, waited two and a half years to sue me for alleged trademark infringement, which is an improper lawsuit and filed only after I grew sick and tired of being harassed by Harrah’s and sued Harrah’s first, for a declaration that I am doing nothing wrong. I will not go down without a fight…”

So Schiavio, an unknown and apparently unwise poker gadfly, and Harrah’s, one of the world’s biggest companies, are suing each other over a domain name.

Like most court battles, this will probably be a battle of money more than anything else–with the side throwing more of it around likely winning.

Want to bet how this one will eventually end?

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected].)

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