Wynn Resorts Sues Resorts World for Being a Copycat

Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to Resorts World, the lawyers for Wynn Resorts are having none of it.

Wynn Resorts has filed a federal lawsuit against Resorts World claiming its under construction hotel infringes on Wynn’s trademarked design.

Oh, the glorious drama!

Here’s a look at the current state of Resorts World, the $4 billion Asian-themed casino being built across the street from Wynn Las Vegas.

Resorts World

Just when you’re starting to take flight, somebody tries to clip your wings. Or something.

Here’s a closer look at Resorts World.

Resorts World

Lawyer up, Resorts World.

Below is the Wynn hotel, for comparison purposes, in case you’ve been living under a rock.

Concave facade, check.

Curved, bronze glass, check.

Horizontal banding between the lines of glass panes, check.

Wynn Las Vegas

This design has been used by Wynn not only in Las Vegas, but also Macau, Boston and 14 feet away at Encore.

Wynn’s lawyers make a convincing case that the similarities between the buildings (the technical name is “trade dress”) could cause customer confusion and constitutes unfair competition.

The Wynn Resorts lawsuit contains five counts: 1) Federal trade dress infringement, 2) unfair competition and false designation of origin, 3) federal trademark dilution, 4) state trademark dilution and 5) Chocula.

We were just making sure you were paying attention. The fifth count is state trademark dilution and copyright infringement.

This, by the way, is why lawyers are paid so much. They have to read crap like that all day.

Through the miracle of the Interwebs, you can just read the lawsuit yourself.

If you do take time to read the lawsuit, please note this very blog somehow got a shout-out as an exhibit. Because, of course, we have to make everything about us.

Wynn sues Resorts World

Not only were we mentioned, we were also called out for a typo. Rude.

Here’s our article referenced in the lawsuit. You’d be surprised how little traffic a site gets from a link in a lawsuit. Just saying. And if you can’t get enough of us, check out this news segment on Channel 8 in Las Vegas.

So, this has all the makings of a good, old-fashioned Las Vegas feud.

Which is odd, because we’d heard from Wynn Las Vegas employees the similarities between the buildings has been the source of chatter inside Wynn for some time, and company executives appeared to be taking it in stride.

At an employee town hall in mid-November, Wynn leadership was asked about the Resorts World design, and it was shared top executives of Wynn and Resorts World are fairly cozy. Wynn Resorts leadership revealed, reportedly in a light-hearted way, the fact Resorts World executives were open about “copying” the design of Wynn Las Vegas because they admire it.

As it turns out, they may have admired it a bit too much.

While Resorts World is only partially complete, from what we’ve seen over the construction wall, millions of dollars in glass has already been purchased and delivered to the site.

Resorts World

You can see tons of windows ready for installation in the foreground.

If Wynn Resorts prevails, changing course at Resorts World would be massively expensive. And should they be forced to send back all that window glass, just imagine the restocking charges.

Fun fact: The window manufacturer shown on the product at Resorts World is Enclos, the same company that made the windows for Wynn and Encore. Check it out.

The Wynn Resorts lawsuit is anything but a slam dunk, however.

We’re no lawyer, but if we were fighting this lawsuit, the first thing we’d do is share the most recent rendering of Resorts World (see below).

The finished product looks less like Wynn and Encore, making Wynn’s lawsuit a bit more wobbly. Which may not be the exact legal term, but you get our drift.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Our bullet-proof Resorts World defense: “Chill, bro, we’re not done yet.”

It’s worth noting Resorts World has changed quite a bit since its early renderings.

Resorts World rendering

Resorts World sort of took a turn for the Wynn somewhere along the way.

We’re thinking Wynn’s window manufacturing company had a clearance sale, and Resorts World saw a bargain it just couldn’t resist.

It’s unknown how the Wynn Resorts infringement lawsuit will affect Resort World’s opening date. Resorts World has already had numerous delays.

The LVCVA says Resorts World is unlikely to open until 2021, even without its legal woes.

Wynn West Resorts World

We Tweeted this two weeks before Wynn’s legal action. We pride ourself on being an endless source of lawsuit exhibits.

While we enjoy the occasional casino one-upmanship, we also tend to like when neighbors play nicely together.

Let’s hope Wynn Las Vegas and Resorts World can resolve the lookalike issue amicably and move forward with some friendly competition and the mutual goal of lifting all the boats on the north end of The Strip, already.

Update (1/28/19): The lawsuit between Wynn Resorts and Resorts World has been resolved in the most boring way possible. Ultimately, the suit was a shot across the bow to ensure Resorts World’s design veered sufficiently from the Wynn/Encore look. Here’s the joint statement about the settlement.

Resorts World rendering

Our 15 minutes of trade dress lawsuit fame are, apparently, over.

16 thoughts on “Wynn Resorts Sues Resorts World for Being a Copycat

  1. Boulder Steve

    Don’t think this lawsuit will be successful but it shows how Wynn is aftaid the new kid on the block may steal some of there business especially with the Asian crowd. Hopefully this doesn’t delay the opening but that’s probably the intention of the lawsuit

  2. David McKee

    Just off the cuff, even the “early” rendering strays a fair amount from Paul Steelman’s original design. For instance, the Strip frontage is different, the turtle-shell-like atrium is gone and so is the unicorn petting zoo, er, panda exhibit.

  3. Henderson Steve

    Am I missing another clever Vital Vegas comedic line?

    Since when is flattery the sincerest form of flattery? I thought imitation was.

    For other writers I’d simply dismiss it as a mental mistake when trying to type a cliche, but with Scott, I have to wonder if there’s nuance there I’m missing.

    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      Ha, hilarious. A screw up of the most ironic kind, especially given the lawsuit itself pointed out how I occasionally type the wrong word, thus highlighting the fact I often write when tired or drunk and even after proofing miss the error. Thanks for the catch. Embarrassing, and let’s just tell people I did it intentionally.

      1. Henderson Steve

        Let’s just say that although I gave you the benefit of the doubt, I know your modus operandi, and may have “busted” you once or twice in the past with my accidental proofreading.

        And you’re right, it’s irony you can’t make up.

  4. JT

    That 2nd to last image of the rendering with gold glass with red accents was perfect. Yeah there are already several others that have gold exteriors but it looks unique and looks like I would be entering a truly Asian resort/experience.

  5. Chris

    To me Wynn just want to have resorts world Las Vegas in there hands in my option there thinking smart so they can have Resorts world some how and that what I think.about it I could be real wrong but that what my mind came up with

  6. Edward

    The lawsuit is silly and will never get any cash settlement….But, is it just me or does this seem like an SW move?

    Also, is the real point financial compensation or to potentially slow down the work on Resorts World? We also have a shortage of qualified construction workers in town as it is…and Wynn is progressing with the new development across the street.

  7. RafyY

    They should sue…and win. It looks wayyy too similar, wynn/core is a pretty unique (and fabulous) design. Maybe not the curve of the building (Aria is curved too), but definitely for the color. And if Wynn was planning on an updated version for the plot across the street they own, then that would surely make things worse for them. Make it gold, or red.

    1. alex

      To win, it needs to be more than just similar looking. From a Wired article:

      Architectural copyright is difficult because the buildings (or renderings) in question have to go through tests to determine substantial similarity. “There’s the ‘total look and feel’ test, where you have an ordinary person like a juror look at the two works side by side, and say, ‘do these things look substantially similar?’ “ says Jeffrey Reichard, who practices construction and copyright law in Greensboro, S.C. “The other is the abstraction, filtration, comparison test where you basically look at only the protectable elements of a design.” This results in what Reichard says is a thin copyright protection.

      While it may look similar to you, there seems to be additional burdens to prove in order to win. I’m not a lawyer (although I have played one on TV…no, really…I did). But, based on some simple online research, this case isn’t nearly as cut and dried as you seem to think.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *