Svenska Spel, Sweden’s government-owned monopoly online gaming site, is going to hold its Swedish Poker Championships on November 4.This is all well and good, except for the fact that the Swedish Poker Association (SPA) is threatening to sue over it.
The Swedish Poker Association claims to have the rights to the “Swedish Poker Championships” brand, as it has been organizing its own Swedish Poker Championships for thirty years.The SPA even says that Svenska Spel understands this, as it has asked permission to use the brand name in the past.This year, the SPA announced that its Championships would be held on November 25 at NordicBet.com.Shortly thereafter, Svenska Spel began a marketing campaign for its Championships.
As a result, the SPA has issued a trademark violation warning to Svenska Spel.“Our Poker Association survives on our Swedish Poker Championships and we have nothing like the resources of Svenska Spel,” said Peder Månsson, Chairman of the Swedish Poker Association.“For us the reason for Svenska Spel to behave in this way is clear, our known and established Poker Championships and poker in general are increasingly popular and therefore very interesting for Svenska Spel and its profits.”
Svenska Spel has responded, saying, “As far as we are concerned, you are not able to protect a trademark as generic as Swedish Poker Championships, since it is too common a concept to protect. You could claim a trademark on a logo which comprised of Swedish Poker Championships but not the words.”
Svenska Spel also criticized the SPA for holding a past live edition of its Championships in Estonia, as well as holding the Championships in November at an online poker room that uses U.S. dollars instead of Swedish Krona.