LONDON - McDermott Will & Emery is advising Inter Lotto (UK) Limited, a company managing lotteries on behalf of charities, and owners of the HOTSPOT registered trademark and HOT PICK trademark, in an action against Camelot Group plc (Camelot) for infringement and passing off in respect of Camelot's use of HOTPICKS in its new lottery game.
HOTSPOT and HOT PICK are distinctive marks of Inter Lotto's lottery games, which have been installed in more than 700 UK pubs. HOTSPOT and HOT PICK are rapidly establishing themselves and raise considerable funds for UK humanitarian charities. Camelot launched a lottery called HOTPICKS around 7 July 2002, using signs similar to Inter Lotto's HOTSPOT/HOT PICK.
Inter Lotto has alleged that Camelot's use of HOTPICKS has caused confusion in outlets and to the public who have mistakenly believed that it is a "spin off" or connected with Camelot's HOTPICKS. This has hurt Inter Lotto's sales and sales growth. Inter Lotto has not been able to expand its HOTSPOT/HOT PICK lottery as quickly as it would have liked, to the detriment of its charity partners.
A report by the prestigious Henley Center, commissioned by Camelot in summer 2001 suggested that Inter Lotto could achieve 95 per cent of the coverage achieved by the National Lottery. In light of this report it is clear that Camelot was well aware of Inter Lotto's activities, almost a year before it launched its Lotto HOTPICKS.
Despite approaches from Inter Lotto since before Camelot's launch of Lotto HOTPICKS, Camelot has not respected the intellectual property rights of Inter Lotto. On 10 January 2002 Inter Lotto launched trademark infringement and passing off proceedings against Camelot in the English High Court. Inter Lotto is seeking an injunction to require Camelot to change the name of its lottery from HOTPICKS, and damages, including damages for the charitable causes it supports. Inter Lotto are applying to the Court for a speedy trial and expects this matter to come to trial during summer 2003.