How do you know if you are likely to lose a trademark case?
A. The trademark you seek was the title to a soundtrack on a 1976 album that sold 16 million copies in the U.S. alone, and still plays on radios every week.
B. The lyrics of the song title are used in international circles. “When a US spy plane made an emergency landing in China in 2001, the crew members were asked to recite the lyrics to prove their nationality. Apparently, their Chinese captors considered that ‘the song symbolized America.” Read more.
C. The song won a Grammy Award in 1977, and the BBC is still reporting about the song.
Amazingly, a hotel in Mexico filed a trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark office for “Hotel California.” Is no name or title safe? Despite that after 40 years, many of us easily identify the lyrics to The Eagles’ song, “Hotel California,” The Eagles had to hire a commercial lawyer to protect others from profiting from their decades of hard work, and to halt the issuance of the trademark.
Never stare down an eagle. The owners of Hotel California Baja, LLC withdrew their application to trademark the name as part of a commercial lawsuit settlement with The Eagles, in January 2018. According to Reuters, The Eagles accused Hotel California Baja of profiting from the name. The hotel played the song repeatedly, and sold a variety of souvenirs in the hotel’s gift shop.
While there might be “plenty of room at the Hotel California,” we hope “some dance to remember” the settlement terms, so the Eagles don’t require a breach of contract attorney.
Warning. After reading this article, some of you may have a difficult time getting the “Hotel California” tune to stop playing in your head. A testament to the song’s enduring nature? Or just another annoyance?
Mark A. Alexander
5080 Spectrum, Suite 850E
Addison, Texas 75001
Fax: 972. 421.1500
*NOTE: The words and phrases used herein are lyrics in the song.