Oaklawn Jockey Club Inc. et al. v. Kentucky Downs LLC et al.
Case No. 16-5582, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
In their recent brief Appellees Kentucky Downs, LLC and Exacta Systems, LLC argued the Sixth Circuit should throw out the trademark suit brought by Appellants Oaklawn Jockey Club and Churchill Downs (“track owners”).
Kentucky Downs operates a facility that offers historical horse racing for play. Kentucky Downs uses Exacta’s gaming system that allows people to place bets on historical horse races. The gaming system displays track owners’ names among other race information to its bettors. In 2010, Kentucky enacted a law requiring the location of the horse race be displayed after a wager is placed on a historical horse race. Kentucky Downs and Exacta state that the race location is most commonly identified using the track name and argue that the display of the track name does not suggest any sponsorship or affiliation with the track owners.
In October 2015, the track owners filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky arguing that the display of track names on the Exacta system constitutes trademark infringement. In April 2016, the District Court found that there was no trademark infringement and instead found that the Kentucky Downs and Exacta’s use of track names was both a non-trademark use and a fair use. Following the District Court’s decision, the track owners filed their appeal in the Sixth Circuit on May 3, 2016.
A depiction of the Exacta screens displaying the track names is below:
Exacta argues that the display of the track names is in a small, generic font that does not make use of any logo or stylized font that would demonstrate trademark usage. Additionally, Exacta argues that the use of the track names is a fair use because it is merely descriptive of the racetrack location.
We will continue to provide updates as this case progresses.