|Home Gambling Network Inc., a subsidiary of i2 Corp., has failed in its bid to close down Ho’s Internet casino. I2 had sued Ho in US federal Court, claiming that Ho’s online casino violated i2’s Internet gambling patent.|
However, in a court order last week, US district Judge Larry Hicks in Las Vegas turned down HGN’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have shut down Ho’s Internet Casino. The Judge also suggested that the defendants would likely prevail in the litigation.
Hicks dismissed most of the defendants in the case, including Ho and his Macau casino company, saying that because of the defendants having no connections to Nevada, the court didn’t have proper jurisdiction. The remaining defendant is Caribbean Online Ltd, the Ho-controlled company that operates the online casino.
'It's what we expected, though obviously we wanted to try,' Mel Molnick, president of HGN, said. 'We're only disappointed they'll be able to continue taking wagers in the United States, and let a lot of people continue doing an illegal activity.'
The crucial point in Dr. Ho’s favour is that the patent that i2 claims is being violated concerns live casino games broadcast over the Internet for gambling purposes. The patent specifically applies to games involving electronic betting and payments – and according to Hicks, 'The patent does not patent all live casino gambling over the Internet,' adding “There is no allegation that the drho.com website pays debits and credits in (an instantaneous, electronic) manner.' Hicks said Ho's company was more likely to prevail in the lawsuit, since winnings are sent to players by check, not electronic transfer.
Molnick said that the company still believes it can win the case. i2 will argue during the trial that Ho’s website’s transactions are equivalent to electronic transfers, placing it in violation of the i2 patent.
That argument was not used in the motion for an injunction, Molnick said.
'It absolutely does violate the patent,' Molnick said.
Hicks added that Ho's company was far more likely to suffer irreparable harm if the court issued a shutdown order, since it would close an operating business. HGN currently has no operating Internet casinos, but intends to license its patent to other Internet operators.