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Swedish case goes in Ladbrokes’ favour

September 30, 2009 2009

Ladbrokes recently won a case against the Swedish state monopoly, Svenska Spel.

Svenska Spel filed a law suit against Ladbrokes last year for breach of trademark laws in connection with the Ladbrokes advertising campaign “Swedish games with English odds”. The Swedish company claimed that Ladbrokes had misused the Svenska Spel trademark and that only the state monopoly can use the term “Swedish” and “games” for commercial use in advertising and marketing. The Market Court in Sweden ruled that Ladbrokes did not violate the trademark act of Sweden.

Christopher Bell, chief executive of Ladbrokes, stated that this case means that Swedish monopolies cannot extend their power to monopolising language.

For its part, Ladbrokes countered with a law suit against Swedish game (Svenska Spel) for violation of the Marketing Act, for the use of terms such as “Svenska Spel is a world leader in responsible gaming” and “the most effective age verification online.” The Swedish Marketing Court ruled in favour of Ladbrokes and Svenska Spel faces a penalty of SEK 750,000 if these statements are used in future marketing activities.

The ruling, according to Ladbrokes, also noted that the company did not sufficiently manage to demonstrate that the use of statements such as “same game” and “major gains” in the Ladbrokes ad campaign 2008 was relevant to the facts, and therefore contrary to the Marketing Act.

Ladbrokes has been quite critical of Swedish state monopoly laws and actions that restrict competition and choice. Late last year, Ladbrokes had described a report issued by the Swedish National Gambling Consultation as protectionist and anti-competitive. It mentioned that none of the EU principles of proportionality or free and fair competition across border were taken into account in the paper – it is more monopoly, not less. The objective is to protect Government revenues and penalise competitors, it had stated.


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