The Eagles have settled a lawsuit with a Mexican hotel using the name of the band’s famous song “Hotel California.”
A joint dismissal of the Eagles’ lawsuit against the hotel in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, was filed on Wednesday with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The same day, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office accepted Hotel California Baja’s request to permanently abandon its trademark application.
“This matter has been settled by mutual agreement of the Parties,” said Eagles’ attorney Tom Jirgal of Loeb & Loeb LLP in a statement.
“I confirm that Hotel California Baja, LLC and its affiliates have settled the lawsuit with Eagles, Ltd. by mutual agreement of the parties,” the hotel’s attorney Bill Seiter of Seiter Legal Studio told Billboard. “The Hotel California and its affiliates will continue using the name, service mark and trademark ‘Hotel California’ in Mexico…. The Hotel and its affiliates continue to own some 28 valid Mexican trademark registrations for the mark ‘Hotel California’ and variants.”
In the initial lawsuit filed last year, the iconic rock band argued that the hotel was trying to capitalize on its success. As the Eagles’ filing pointed out, the band has become synonymous with the song “Hotel California.” As the act’s most popular album, it said to be “essence of the band itself” and, as such, all sorts of merchandise has been sold with the mark.
“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,” wrote attorney Laura Wytsma.
The small hotel located near the tip of the Baja California Peninsula originally opened under the name Hotel California in 1950, but went through subsequent ownership and name changes, according to the complaint. The Eagles song was released in 1976 on an album by the same name, which went on to win the 1977 Grammy award for record of the year.
When the hotel’s current owners, Debbie and John Stewart, bought the property in 2001, the suit alleged they intended to boost their business by creating a reputation “based at least partially on the hotel’s reputed, but false, connection to the Eagles.” In so doing, the hotel played the Eagles’ music and sold T-shirts referring to then hotel as “legendary,” which the band argued would bring consumers to believe “they have visited ‘the’ Hotel California made famous by the Eagles.”
The hotel denied it was trying to mislead guests and argued customers were unlikely to be confused.