Famed rock band The Eagles are suing a hotel located in Todos Santos, Mexico. If you guessed that the hotel was named Hotel California, which is also the name of the famous Eagles’ ballad, you would be partially correct. The hotel’s current owners purchased the Todos Santos Hotel, which originally opened under the name Hotel California in 1950.
The Eagles filed suit in the Central District of California alleging federal and common law trademark infringement. The Eagles claim the hotel’s current owners have been marketing the hotel as Hotel California and have even filed for federal trademark registration of HOTEL CALIFORNIA in November of 2015 for the sale of goods, including clothing and accessories. The Complaint alleges that the hotel “actively encourages” guests to believe that it is associated with the band, through actions such as playing Eagles’ songs in the hotel lobby. Indeed, the band will be able to show evidence of actual confusion, as reviews on popular travel review sites, including Yelp and TripAdvisor, include reviews referencing the famous song. At least one reviewer writes, the hotel is “the place where the Eagles wrote the song.”
The band is seeking both injunctive relief and actual damages. Based on the publicly available allegations in the Complaint, the Eagles have a high likelihood of success.