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LEGAL

Legal Updates

The sale of the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City might be in jeapordy after a federal court documents revealed an arbitation finding that current owner Bossier Casino Venture (BCV) is contractually obligated to use the Margaritaville brand through the end of its 40-year agreement—or the next 35 years—with licensor Margaritaville. Even if the casino is sold, BCV is responsible for making quarterly license fee payments to Margaritaville based on the percentage of the project’s adjusted gross sales, with a minimum rate of $5 million per year. BCV owned and operated the hotel in accordance with its agreement for 3 years, until it got an offer from Poarch Creek Indian Gaming to purchase the property for $335 million—at which time the company stopped making payments. After a year of arbitration, the panel found that Margaritaville is entitled to a $10 million judgment against BCV plus interest, and that BCV is “not entitled unilaterally to cease using the Margaritaville IP or brand.” The decision appears to be a deal-breaker for Porch Creek Indian Gaming, which was looking for a deal that would be “free and clear of any Margaritaville-related licensing obligations,” according to court documents.

Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona takes action against Konami for using his likeness in video game Pro Evolution Soccer 2017. Ironically, the Japanese video game company has frequently come under fire by players for its lack of licensing real teams and players.

Duke University sues Smack Apparel—a manufacturer that specializes in apparel which mocks sports teams and players—over a shirt that references its basketball student-athlete Allen Grayson. Duke alleges that the shirt, which mocks Allen’s reputation for tripping opponents, is in violation of NCAA rules preventing companies from profiting off college athletes (Allen could lose his remaining college eligibility if this is true). Smack initially responded over Twitter with a claim that the shirts fall within the First Amendment right to satire. According to CBS Sports, Smack owner Wayne Curtiss then responded with a written compromise. His suggestion was to fly to Duke’s hometown of the Durham/Chapel Hill area and poll 50 locals by asking, “Do you believe this shirt is sponsored or endorsed by either Duke University or Grayson Allen?” If more than five people say yes, Curtiss will cease production and sales and also provide 25% royalty for all sales (a higher than average rate, TLL notes). If not, he proposes Duke reimburse him $2,000 for time and travel expenses.

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