In Vegas, El-Ad Wins Battle over Plaza Name

A $5 billion resort casino planned for the Las Vegas Strip will be able to be operate under the Plaza brand after a jury ruled that the developers could use that title despite the fact that another property in the city also goes by the Plaza name. The battle over the Plaza moniker is being waged by two foreign firms headquartered on the other side of the globe from the bright lights of The Strip. Israel-based El-Ad Group, which owns New York City’s Plaza Hotel and is looking to extend the Plaza brand to Las Vegas with the new resort project, was sued by Tamares Real Estate, a Lichtenstein-based firm that owns an economy-class hotel in Downtown Las Vegas which also goes by the Plaza name. During the three-week trial, which took place in a Clark County, Nev., court, lawyers for El-Ad claimed the Tamares property had failed to protect its trademark on the “Plaza” name by operating under several different banners, such as Union Plaza and Jackie Gaughan’s Plaza Downtown.“Although we are disappointed at this result, Tamares will always stand up for its interests if it believes, in good faith, that it has the right and indeed the obligation to do so,” Harry Braunstein, American general counsel for Tamares, told Reuters. “Despite the verdict we certainly continue to believe that was true in this instance.” Despite the ruling in its favor on the name issue, El-Ad and joint venture development partner IDB Development Corp. still have some hurdles to clear on the way to developing the giant mixed-use project. In August, the companies announced that construction had been delayed until at least 2010, with opening pushed back to 2012, due to financing troubles. On the bright side for El-Ad, presumably, at least now no one will confuse the seven-tower, 6,700-unit gaming and convention mega development with the budget joint across town.