Mia Gardner | 21 Dec 2017
Bet365 has reason to celebrate following a decision handed down by the European Union General Court in December. The decision annulled a section of a ruling by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
The case dates back to 2007, when the UK-based gambling operator filed a trademark application with the EUIPO for Bet 365. The application was for classes 9, 28, 35, 38, 41, and 42. The initial application was rejected due to the examiner’s opinion that the applied-for trademark was a mere descriptive, and lacked the distinctive character required by class 41, betting and gambling.
A year later, the examiner informed the operator that he had changed his mind regarding the trademark application. However, that was not the end of the application, as it was then opposed by Robert Hansen, a German national.
Hansen had applied to trademark b365, a move that gave rise to numerous rulings by and appeals to the EUIPO. The most recent of those took place in 2016, when the EUIPO’s fifth Board of Appeal upheld the examiner’s initial opinion that Bet 365 was descriptive and indistinct.
The operator appealed the 2016 decision in court, with the result being an annulment of the ruling concerning class 41. However, the decision dismissed the rest of the operator’s action.
According to the decision, the fifth appeals board’s decision regarding Bet 365 and class 41 was insufficiently substantiated. The court stated that the operator’s appeal had strong enough grounds without having to resort to chamber of commerce evidence or polls.
Bet365’s financial results for 2017 show that this has been a good year for the operator. Not only did it see year-on-year growth in pre-tax and operating profits, it also saw more than £2 billion in annual revenue for the first time in a 12-month period to the end of March.
Revenue grew by 39 percent from £1.65 billion to £2.15 billion, while pre-tax profit grew from £459 million to £514 million, and operating profit grew 15 percent from £456 million to £503 million.
The operator also saw a 35 percent increase in active players, as well as a 27 percent increase the size of sports betting wagers, year-on-year. Among the reasons for the sports betting increase were expanding markets, the operator’s Auto Cash Out and Edit My Bet features, as well as the Euro 2016 football tournament.