Sometimes, even the Lottery needs more than luck. Recently, the Tri-State Lotto Commission attempted to federally register the mark “Tri State Megabucks” for lottery and sweepstakes services with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), but was rejected. There was apparently a conflict with another registration for the mark “megabucks” that was already registered by a New Jersey entity for slot machines. The Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire Lottery Commissioners engaged Manchester intellectual property attorney Mark A. Wright, a partner at the law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, Professional Association, and Chair of its Intellectual Property Group. A detailed response was submitted to counter the refusal to register, and after several months of consideration by the USPTO, the Tri-State Lotto Commission ultimately prevailed. The TRI STATE MEGABUCKS mark was approved for registration.
In an unrelated matter, The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office and the New Hampshire Sweepstakes Commission, while trying to increase public accessibility to the New Hampshire Lottery website, encountered a cybersquatter in New Jersey who had registered the domain name nhlottery.com. The New Hampshire Lottery, which is responsible for adding $66,000,000 to funding for New Hampshire’s schools in 2002, engaged Attorney Wright to challenge the cybersquatter. It was discovered that the third party, who had also registered the domain names “illottery”, “mnlottery” and “aklottery”, had no connection to lotteries or New Hampshire, or any other apparent good faith need for the name. The issue was brought before The National Arbitration Forum, which, after a considered assessment of the case, agreed with the Commission’s position that the “nhlottery.com” domain name be transferred to the State of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Sweepstakes Commission. Wynn Arnold, of the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, said of the win: “We take the protection of this very significant source of education funding very seriously and we were pleased to have this issue successfully resolved .”
Mark A. Wright has been chosen among The Best Lawyers in America® and was recently recognized in the Best Lawyers in NH edition of Business NH magazine. He chairs the Intellectual Property Group at the McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, Professional Association. McLane has offices in Manchester, Portsmouth, and Concord, and can be found on the web at mclane.com. Mark can be contacted directly at 603-628-1311 or by email at [email protected].