Aristocrat, Harrah's Face Patent Lawsuit

9 February 2004

LAS VEGAS -- Aristocrat Leisure Ltd., the world's second largest maker of slot machines, said an individual filed a lawsuit in Nevada against the company, alleging its "Hyperlink" branded linked jackpot games infringe on a U.S. patent.

Reno inventor Lawrence J. Torango filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Reno. The suit also names Harrah's Operating Co. Inc., Harveys Tahoe Management Co. Inc. and Harrah's Laughlin Inc., all subsidiaries of Harrah's Entertainment Inc., Las Vegas.

The suit lists Harrah's Reno, Harrah's Lake Tahoe, Harveys Lake Tahoe and Harrah's Laughlin as casinos that have machines, systems and technology using the Hyperlink technology.

Aristocrat plans to defend itself against the lawsuit, the Sydney, Australia, company said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

A spokesman for Harrah's said today the company has no comment on the suit.

Aristocrat is already facing a class-action lawsuit filed by some shareholders in Victoria state in Australia, alleging it breached corporations law. During 2003 Aristocrat fired its chief executive and chief financial officers after it was forced to cut earnings forecasts following a bungled South American contract.

Torango, who alleged Aristocrat violated confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements that were signed in 1997, sued for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets in connection with the disclosure of the Hyperlink technology linking progressive jackpot slot machines.

The plaintiff is seeking unspecified damages and royalties from machines that used the technology.

The Harrah's entities were named as operators of machines using the technology.


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Copyright © Las Vegas Sun. Inc. Republished with permission.
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