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Judge Rules in Favor of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Trademark Lawsuit

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A Nevada casino has infringed on the trademarked name of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community's casino, a federal judge ruled July 26, reported Vegas Inc.

The tribal owners and operators of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel sued Mystic Lodge, based in Henderson just outside Las Vegas, in January 2010. Now U.S. District Judge James Mahan in Las Vegas has ruled in the tribe's favor, issuing a permanent injunction that forces Mystic Lodge casino to change its name and to cease using the "Mystic" name in its marketing materials.

The casinos share little besides the Mystic name and being a gaming house, and the Henderson property is much smaller scale, offering fewer than 200 slots and no hotel. Tourists have no incentive to leave the strip to visit the small facility, Vegas Inc states.

On the flip side, the Minnesota property claims 600 hotel rooms and about 4,000 slot machines and 100 table games.

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This served as the backbone argument for attorneys for Templeton Gaming Corp. of Las Vegas, owner of the Mystic Lodge. They contended in court briefs that no one would confuse the two properties or mistake them as common ownership. The attorneys representing the Mystic Lodge said the tribe’s lawsuit displayed "unfair competition and anti-competitive conduct," reported Vegas Inc.

Opening in 1992 by the SMSC, the Mystic Lake Casino predates the Mystic Lodge by 15 years, Mahan's order said.

"Here, there is no question that the plaintiff owns a valid and protectable mark," Mahan wrote in his order, reported Vegas Inc.

The judge also noted the word "Mystic" is distinctive for casino services.

While the Henderson property was given 60 days to stop using the Mystic name, Templeton Gaming appealed Mahan’s ruling on July 27 to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.