Hotel California Turns Steely Knives on Eagles' Trademark Claims

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The owners of Mexico’s Hotel California have fired back claims that they’re infringing the trademarks of multiplatinum winning country-rock band the Eagles. 


On May 1, the Eagles sued in a federal court in California based on the fact that the company that owns the hotel because the company is based in Los Angeles, even though the hotel itself is in the Mexican province of Baja California. 


The band is claiming that the hotel is infringing its common law trademark rights. Its complaint says that the hotel is falsely creating an association with the band by selling merchandise referring to the “legendary” Hotel California and playing Eagles music regularly in its facilities. 


Hotel California Baja LLC denied the allegations in its May 31 answer. It also asserted that the Eagles don’t hold any rights over the Hotel California trademark. 


The Eagles don’t have a trademark registration for Hotel California, the name of its most famous hit, but the band says that it has common law rights through use, such as merchandise sales. 


The Eagles claim that the hotel for many years operated under a different name until the current owners changed the name in 2011. 


The hotel website says that a Chinese immigrant named Mr. Wong (first name unknown) built the hotel in 1947. It also said that there is no connection to the Eagles, but also that “many visitors are mesmerized by the ‘coincidences’ between the lyrics of the hit song and the physicality of the hotel and its surroundings.”