A potential trademark battle is brewing between newcomer Barstool Sportsbook and stalwart Las Vegas operator Westgate SuperBook.
Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy on Wednesday tweeted a cease-and-desist letter sent by Westgate Las Vegas legal representatives.
The letter claims infringement of the use of “GOOD TEAMS WIN, GREAT TEAMS COVER” – a trademark owned by Westgate.
Barstool Sportsbook gets second notice from Westgate
According to the letter Portnoy tweeted, it’s the second cease-and-desist letter sent by law firm Greenspoon Marder on behalf of Westgate. The casino sent the first letter on June 4, 2020.
Westgate cites Barstool’s usage of the trademarked phrase on the company’s Twitter:
“This is the second time we have had to contact you, which is evidence that your conduct is willful,” the letter reads. “This use of ‘Good teams win, great teams cover,’ after a priori warning is an intentional effort to trade on the goodwill associated with Westgate’s ‘Good teams win, great teams cover,’ mark.”
A Westgate representative did not respond to a request for comment.
Barstool ‘official’ response
When contacted by LSR, Penn National senior VP of public affairs Eric Schippers replied by pointing back to Portnoy’s tweet: “It speaks for itself.”
Portnoy tweeted the letter with what amounts to the Barstool statement on the matter:
“Nothing makes me more confident when other gambling companies like @WestgateVegas start sending us cease and desists for tweeting ‘good teams win, great teams cover,’” the tweet reads. “By the way there is literally no chance they invented that. That’s like saying you invented the question mark.”
The Las Vegas resort filed for a trademark in 2008 and that trademark was registered in 2012.
‘Mark is now incontestable’
While a common phrase can’t be contestable, Westgate appears to have registered ‘good teams win, great teams cover,’ before it could be considered one, according to Mike Schuster, a professor of legal studies at the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.
“The US Trademark Office apparently did not believe this was a common phrase when it was registered in 2012 in the field of wagering services,” Schuster said. “Further, due to the registration’s age, the mark is now incontestable—meaning that it is immune from allegations that the trademark is invalid, except in fairly limited circumstances.”
A tale of two eras
Barstool Sportsbook is a newcomer to the sports betting business after Penn National acquired 36% of the media company last year. The sportsbook launched last year in Pennsylvania and last month in Michigan.
There are also Barstool-branded retail sportsbooks at Penn National locations in several states.