Wynn Sues Resorts World Over Building Similarity
Have you ever owed a home in a nice, suburban neighborhood that required you to be a member of the home owner’s association? And have you ever had that experience of embarking on an expensive landscaping makeover, only to have the shit-ass home owner’s association leave a note on your door halfway through to let you know that you are in violation of some random clause in the HOA agreement because your new retaining wall is the wrong color or brick texture or something and that you have to redo the whole thing? No, I haven’t had that experience, either (which reminds me, I really need to mow the lawn), but I imagine that’s what the Genting Group feels like about now, as Wynn Resorts is suing Genting’s Resorts World Las Vegas because it doesn’t like the way Resorts World looks.
Okay, I will admit that I am simplifying the issue just a tad, but really, that’s what is going on. Wynn Resorts has sued Resorts World because it believes Resorts World – currently under construction – looks too much like Wynn Las Vegas and Encore.
For those unfamiliar, Resorts World Las Vegas is going to be the first new, bonkers, luxury resort casino on the Las Vegas Strip in years. It is situated on the site of the former Stardust Casino on the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard, north of West Desert Inn Road. Circus Circus is immediately to the north. The hope is that it will revitalize the north end of the Strip.
On the other side of Las Vegas Boulevard and south of East Desert Inn Road (so kitty-corner or caddy-corner to Resorts World Las Vegas, depending on how you like to say it) are the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore buildings. Though Wynn is fairly young compared to its Strip competitors, it has become an iconic property in Las Vegas, easily recognizable by its concave curvature, bronze color, and cream-colored horizontal bands separating each floor. Encore has the same design.
Below is a small portion of the complaint filed by Wynn (emphasis mine):
2. This action arises out of Defendant’s unlawful and unauthorized adoption and use of the Plaintiff’s registered and world famous architectural building design consisting, in relevant part, of a three-dimensional building with concave facade, and curved, bronze glass, coupled with horizontal banding above and between the lines of glass panes (“Plaintiff’s Trade Dress”).
3. The design of Defendant’s new Resorts World Las Vegas hotel and casino directly across the street from Plaintiff’s world famous Wynn and Encore resort hotel casinos is substantially and confusingly similar to Plaintiff’s Trade Dress and copyrighted architectural work, which Plaintiff has used in conjunction with its resort hotel and casino services in the United States and abroad for many years.
4. By using trade dress that is confusingly similar to Plaintiff’s registered and common law Trade Dress in connection with the same or highly similar hotel and casino services that are offered by Plaintiff, Defendant is misleading the consuming public into falsely believing that it is affiliated with, sponsored by or associated with Plaintiff, when it is not.
One bit in the lawsuit that is eyebrow raising is where Wynn quotes the Vital Vegas blog, a blog which details the daily ins and outs of Las Vegas and has been proven correct on many rumors in the past:
Media outlets have noticed the striking similarity between the WLV and Encore on the one hand, and Resorts World’s new construction on the other. See https://vitalvegas.com/resorts-world-ismaking-striking-progress/, attached hereto as Exhibit C, noting that: “[o]bservers have noted the similarity between the look of Resorts World and that of Wynn and Encore, just across the street (see below)”; “If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Wynn should feel very flattered right about now;” and “We’ve heard Genting Group, owners of Resorts World, may make a play to purchase Wynn Resorts, so the similarity because (sic) the hotels could very well be intentional.”
I’m not sure I quite buy that, as designing the property to look like Wynn yet also be different enough to not look exactly like it (plus the Chinese theme) seems like it would be an odd decision. So if Genting bought Wynn and wanted its new casino to look like it was part of the same family, it didn’t exactly hit the mark, but if Genting didn’t buy Wynn, the casino looks to similar? Weird.
In all, the lawsuit lists five counts:
1. Federal trade dress infringement
2. Unfair competition and false designation of origin
3. Federal trademark dilution
4. State trademark dilution
5. Copyright infringement
Among other things, Wynn wants Resorts World to essentially change the design of the structure, of which 35 floors have already been built, and receive profits from Resorts World.
I wish them all best of luck at the annual neighborhood block party. Resorts World is expected to open in late 2020.