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Eagles and real-life Hotel California settle dispute

An ongoing trademark battle between the famous classic US rock band, the Eagles, and a Mexican hotel calling itself Hotel California has ended. The song “Hotel California” was one of the Eagles’ greatest hits and continues to be popular decades after its release in 1976. The trademark case is over after the Hotel California in Mexico withdrew its own application for a trademark on the term.

The Eagles had filed a trademark infringement complaint against the hotel, which sold an array of goods imprinted with the Hotel California name. They claimed that the hotel’s merchandise was likely to cause confusion with the band’s registered wordmark on the name, which they use on memorabilia such as keychains, guitar picks, clothing and posters.

The hotel had been known as Hotel California in the 1950s before changing its name and ownership on several occasions; in 2001, the new owners brought back the old name and introduced merchandise. The band filed a complaint against the hotel seeking an injunction against its sale of such merchandise and other damages. After the complaint, the hotel applied for its own trademark on the name for products like accessories, bed linens and footwear. It contended that the band’s claims should be barred and that there was no likelihood that hotel guests would be confused about any connection between the hotel and the band.

The two parties came to an undisclosed settlement, and the band’s lawsuit was dismissed in January 2018 after both parties filed a joint request for dismissal. The hotel will continue to operate as Hotel California in Mexico, where it holds valid trademarks.

Intellectual property issues can seem thorny at times, but to content creators, it can be critical to protect the use of one’s unique words and creations. An intellectual property lawyer may be able to work with artists, inventors and writers to protect their work from infringement.