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Court Ruling Boosts Station Casinos

Two issues in a three-year old patent suit are settled in the company's favor.
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A three-year old patent dispute between

Station Casinos

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Harrah's Entertainment

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was settled in favor of Station, prompting shares to rally 3.6% on Monday.

Station Monday announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada invalidated two patents held by Harrah's on customer loyalty programs, ending a legal struggle that began in July 2001.

Three years ago, Harrah's sued Station, alleging Station's "Boarding Pass Rewards Program," which gives customers freebies based on the amount they gamble, infringed Harrah's patent rights.

After spiking to record highs in April, shares of both companies have slumped in recent weeks, along with the broader market. But news of the court ruling helped boost Station shares $1.58 to $$45.93, while Harrah's rose 29 cents, or 0.6%, to $52.89.

With the ruling, most of the issues around the suit have been settled, but there is one final patent held by Harrah's that has yet to be ruled upon. But while Harrah's still has the right to appeal the court's decision, Station stressed that it "does not expect that the lawsuit will have a material adverse effect on its financial position or results of operations."