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Federal Court protects Sportsbet brand, grants injunction preventing Crownbet’s name change

The Federal Court of Australia has temporarily banned online betting service Crownbet from changing its name to Sportingbet at the end of the month, for fear that it will impact rival betting company Sportsbet’s brand and business.

After Sportsbet sought an injunction on Crownbet’s proposed name change, the court agreed it is likely consumers will have trouble distinguishing between the two betting brands.

The Federal Court prevents Crownbet from changing its name to Sportingbet

“Consumers will likely have difficulty in accurately distinguishing between the two names, and that may impact upon their ability to locate Sportsbet’s business, by entry of a URL into an internet browser, or in conducting searches for the purpose of reaching Sportsbet’s online portals,” the court hearing states.

In March Crownbet acquired bookmaker William Hill with the agreement that Crownbet would stop using the William Hill brand by October.

While in December last year, Crown Resorts sold its 62% interest in Crownbet with the condition that it must cease using the Crownbet brand before August this year.

In a bid to rebrand both Crownbet and William Hill, Crownbet set out to change its name to Sportingbet, which has been temporarily denied by the Federal Court of Australia.

The court also noted Sportsbet has spent large amounts of money on its advertising since 2015 which has resulted in a very high level of brand recognition with Australia.

“Sportsbet alleges that the respondents [Crownbet] are threatening to engage in conduct in the course of trade or commerce in Australia that is misleading or deceptive, or that is likely to mislead or deceive.

“Further, Sportsbet alleges that the respondents are threatening to infringe Sportsbet’s trade marks,” the hearing states.

Last year, Sportsbet unveiled its most controversial ad campaign yet, ‘Putting the ‘roid in Android’ starring drug cheat Ben Johnson.

The ad was later banned by Ad Standards for suggesting that the ‘roid’ is a positive element to the new App and encourages people to bet quickly.

Meanwhile Crownbet appointed The Monkeys Melbourne as its creative agency of record in August releasing an ad campaign starring Australian actress Nicki Whelan three months later.

A Sportsbet spokesperson said in a statement to Mumbrella: “This decision demonstrates that the Court shares our concern regarding the likelihood that consumers will be misled into thinking services offered under a Sportingbet brand are connected or associated with Sportsbet.

“Sportsbet will continue to take all necessary action to protect its brand and prevent deception in the market, and will see the matter through to a final determination if necessary.”

Crownbet had not responded to comment at the time of publishing.

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