Chess Hall of Fame|Fight Resumes

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – Concerned that a court battle over the Chess Hall of Fame trademark would remain “idle” after two years, a federal judge affirmed an order lifting a stay.
     U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones on May 7 denied a motion objecting to a magistrate judge’s lifting of a stay on the case.
     “The order presents a reasonable compromise between preventing potentially wasteful discovery efforts and ensuring that this case, which has sat idle for two years, does not remain stagnant,” Jones wrote in a 4-page order.
     The World Chess Museum, which does business as the World Chess Hall of Fame, in St. Louis, sued the Las Vegas-based World Chess Federation and Stan Vaughan in February 2013, alleging trademark infringement.
     The museum says it “exhibits one of the world’s premier collections of chess and chess-related artifacts, memorabilia, and artwork” and obtained the World Chess Hall of Fame mark from the France-based World Chess Federation. The museum says it registered the World Chess Hall of Fame mark in 2002.
     Vaughan created Las Vegas-based World Chess Federation to organize chess tournaments and offer chess lessons, among other services, and in 2011 announced the opening of the World Chess Federation Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.
     The museum then sued the World Chess Federation and Vaughan.
     A stay was issued after Vaughan and his wife in May 2013 filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and transferred ownership of the Word Chess Hall of Fame trademark to the World Chess Federation.
     Judge Jones said the stay was issued due to concerns that Vaughan might have illegally transferred ownership of the World Chess Federation Hall of Fame mark to the Las Vegas-based World Chess Federation “to exclude it from the bankruptcy case.”
     Vaughan and the chess federation on Feb. 12 filed a motion to lift the stay, which a magistrate judge granted.
     The chess museum then objected to lifting the stay, saying the bankruptcy court proceeding might make the case moot.
     In denying the objection, Jones said, “certain discovery conducted in this case may be relevant to the proceedings pending in bankruptcy court” and would “not amount to wasted efforts.”
     Vaughan, a chess grandmaster, won nine world titles from 1996 to 2012 and in 1982 set a world record by winning 112 consecutive blindfold chess matches, according to his biography posted on the World Chess Federation site.
     The site also indicates Vaughan is a cryptanalyst who is credited with solving the infamous Zodiac killer’s 340-character cipher.
     Officials for the World Chess Museum and the World Chess Federation were not immediately available for comment Monday.

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