The Hotel California in Baja is being sued by U.S band ‘The Eagles’ for trademark infringement. The Eagles claim that the establishment is trying to capitalize on the popularity of their song, tricking customers into believing the hotel and the song are related, according to Hollywood Reporter.
Laura Wystma, attorney for The Eagles, claims that “through advertising targeted to U.S. consumers, and in-person communications, Defendants lead U.S. consumers to believe that the Todos Santos Hotel is associated with the Eagles and, among other things, served as the inspiration for the lyrics in ‘Hotel California,’ which is false.”
“Hotel California” isn’t just a hit song or the title of the Eagles’ most successful album, it’s the “essence of the band itself,” Wytsma argues. Since the late ’70s, the band has sold merchandise bearing the mark — everything from guitar picks to bathrobes to posters, but the application to register the trademark for merchandise is still pending.
The hotel was named Hotel California back in 1950 and the Eagle’s song was released in 1976. However, the hotel went through a significant amount of ownership and name changes throughout the years and it is suggested the change back to ‘Hotel California’ was intentional off the success of the song.
According to the complaint, when Debbie and John Stewart bought the hotel in 2001 they sought to revitalize it by creating a reputation “based at least partially on the hotel’s reputed, but false, connection to the Eagles.” Furthermore, Wytsma says the hotel also plays the Eagles’ music and sells T-shirts that refer to the hotel as “legendary,” which leave consumers with the impression that “they have visited ‘the’ Hotel California made famous by the Eagles.”
The Eagles are seeking an injunction to ban the hotel from using the name Hotel California or doing anything else to imply it is connected to or approved by the band, and are asking for all related profits plus actual and exemplary damages.