The Swedish state monopoly Svenske Spel's opening gambit in its threatening legal action against Ladbrokes has failed, according to local media reports this week. Ladbrokes could still have to defend itself in further actions by the gambling monopoly, but for now it has won the first exchange.
The case erupted earlier this (May) month when Svenske Spel took exception to a snappy play on words in Ladbrokes advertising that promised Swedish gamblers “Swedish games with English odds” and “We give more back to the players” (see previous InfoPowa report). The Swedish company clearly saw nothing amusing about the ads, and threatened to sue Ladbrokes.
Ladbrokes responded to the challenge by insisting that there had been no wrongdoing, and in a remarkably short time Svenske Spel fired its opening broadside by lodging a request for an injunction halting Ladbrokes with the Swedish Market Court (Marknadsdomstolen), claiming that the British company had infringed its trade mark and engaged in unfair comparative advertising.
The Marknadsdomstolen, which hears issues under the country's marketing and consumer laws, apparently rejected Svenske Spel's arguments, giving an interim ruling that it found no reason to stop the Ladbrokes campaign.
Ladbrokes lawyers have not been idle, either, launching two lawsuits which claim that Svenske Spel should be stopped from marketing itself as "a world leader in responsible gambling", and that it should no longer label the efforts of foreign bookies as "illegal".
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