|By Steve Green, Las Vegas
SunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 16, 2011--The Tropicana Las Vegas resort has settled a high-profile trademark lawsuit with investor Carl Icahn's gaming company.
Tropicana Las Vegas said Tuesday that under terms of the settlement, it will have the exclusive right to use the "Tropicana Las Vegas" and the "Tropicana LV" names and marks within 50 miles of its hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip; and on the Internet and for advertising purposes.
Icahn's Las Vegas-based Tropicana Entertainment Inc., which has Tropicana casinos in Laughlin and Atlantic City, will have rights to use the "Tropicana" and "Trop" marks outside of the Las Vegas area.
The deal includes mutual release of all claims between the parties and is subject to approval by the bankruptcy court in Delaware, since the dispute arose after the bankruptcy of the old Tropicana Entertainment LLC in May 2008.
Icahn gained control of most of the old Tropicana casinos through the bankruptcy process; while investors Onex Corp. of Toronto and gaming executive Alex Yemenidjian purchased the Tropicana Las Vegas out of the bankruptcy.
The dispute was settled, the parties said, in order to avoid protracted litigation.
"While expressly denying and disclaiming wrongdoing or liability of any kind whatsoever, the parties desire to settle and resolve the claims made in the (lawsuit) and other proceedings in order to avoid, among other things, the expense, inconvenience, distraction and uncertainty of litigation," the settlement says.
After both sides incurred hefty legal bills litigating the case in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas and in the Delaware bankruptcy court, where it's been pending, the settlement appeared to be a victory for Tropicana Las Vegas since there's no requirement the Tropicana Las Vegas pay royalties to Icahn's company, Tropicana Entertainment Inc.
"The parties agree to concurrent use and registration of certain marks that are or include the term 'Tropicana' or variants, pursuant to the terms of the agreement, without any payment from one to another, and in perpetuity," says a court motion seeking approval of the settlement.
Court records show that during the bankruptcy case, Tropicana Entertainment proposed that the Las Vegas Tropicana pay $10 million for the rights to use the Tropicana name over five years -- a proposal Onex balked at.
The Las Vegas Tropicana has always asserted it shouldn't have to pay anyone for using its own name -- a name dating to 1957.
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