In Hotel California Baja LLC’s counterclaim, where they “vigorously” deny any wrongdoing, the owners of the hotel point out that the Hotel California has operated under that name since 1950, or 26 years before the Eagles’ classic 1976 single.
“The Hotel California and its affiliates have for many years owned Mexican and U.S. trademark applications and registrations for the trademark Hotel California for its goods and services, and claim no association with the Eagles, with their song ‘Hotel California’ or with their record album of the same name released in 1976,” the owners noted.
“Although for the past four decades Eagles, Ltd. appears to have taken no action whatsoever to protect Hotel California as a trademark, Eagles suddenly contended for the first time in 2017 that Hotel California Baja has been infringing Eagles’ purported ‘common law’ trademark rights. “
“The Eagles’ legal complaint spells out how the defendants have been shamelessly exploiting their supposed connection with the Eagles to sell unlicensed ‘Hotel California’ merchandise to unwitting tourists,” a spokesperson for the band tells Rolling Stone. “Confronted with their wrongdoing, defendants now say they ‘claim no association with the Eagles’ whatsoever. The facts demonstrate otherwise, and the Eagles look forward to putting an end to defendants’ deceptive and unlawful conduct.”
An attorney for Hotel California did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
In the Eagles’ lawsuit filed in early May, the band claimed that the owners of the Hotel California – which has experienced ownership and name changes over the past decades – purposefully play the Eagles’ music to create a false connection between the site and the group. The Eagles also argued that the hotel sells merchandise proclaiming itself as the “Legendary Hotel California,” yet the only reason the term “Hotel California” is “legendary” is because of their song.
As for the Eagles’ allegations that this Hotel California tries to capitalize off the band’s single, the hotel’s owners point out that their Hotel California is located roughly 1,000 miles south of the U.S. border, which “flatly denies Eagles’ baseless contention that the Hotel seeks to create a false connection encouraging consumers to believe the Hotel is associated with the Eagles.”
The Eagles are seeking an injunction to prevent the Hotel California from using that name, as well as all related profits, plus damages and relief.
Incidentally, the title track of the Eagles’ Hotel California is named after a fictional place, and the hotel featured on the album’s cover is the Beverly Hills Hotel, which nearly resulted in a cease-and-desist against the 1976 LP.