Earlier this year Best Odds Corp, parent company of Macpokeronline.com, filed an infringement lawsuit against Michael Jackness who is one of the founders of Protos Marketing. Protos Marketing is the parent company of many online poker portals such as Pokersource.com, Pokernewsdaily.com and the site in question Macpoker.com.
The suit alleges that Jackness “…has been infringing on Best’s service mark MAC POKER, causing deception and confusion to Best’s customers by misdirecting Best’s customers to Jackness’s competing Web sites.” Best Odds Corp. has filed for trademark registration of “MAC POKER”. The application was approved with some conditions and is in the opposition period which ends September 25th. If there isn’t enough opposition then they will likely receive the trademark. This could cause massive problems throughout the industry.
Best Odds Corp, who has already shown that they are not shy about taking legal action, could go up against any company or website owner that in any way promotes mac poker. This means if you have a mac poker website or even a page dedicated to mac poker then you could be a target. This also means that site operators could be challenged in court or forced to pay royalties for offering a poker client that is aimed at an operating system that Best Odds Corp didn’t even invent and does not manufacture.
Many have provided convincing proof that there were quite a few sites that specialized in mac poker long before Macpokeronline.com ever came online. This leaves observers even more puzzled as the Wayback Machine shows sites that used the term “mac poker” before June 3, 2005, the date Best Odds Corp. claims they took ownership of the mark.
If you feel as I do and you have not done so already please contact Mike Jackness and sign the petition that will be submitted to the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Allowing someone to copyright a generic term that appears to have been used long before Macpokeronline.com existed could cause serious ripple effects throughout the industry. What is next, is someone going to try and copyright “Online Poker”?
I have known Mike for a long time. I know his ideas have been taken from him and used by others. I also know their content has been stolen and used word for word on rogue websites before. Years ago he told me that people will take your ideas, your best defense is to just do it better. Even though this may not be the case here this is great advice any webmaster should go by.
Instead of filing lawsuits Macpokeronline.com could use the competition as motivation to make a better site. They could also try to purchase the sites in question or go into a partnership if they feel that they are threatened. Instead they have chosen to enter into a costly lawsuit over a term that is so generic there are over 417,000 returns for the search “Mac Poker”.