Eagles sue Hotel California in Mexico for trademark infringement

Band claims hotel trying to capitalize on popular 1976 song


PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Apparently, the Eagles are not living it up at the Hotel California.

The band is suing the Hotel California in Baja, Mexico, for trademark infringement, claiming it is trying to capitalize on the name of the 1976 song of the same name.

A federal lawsuit, filed Monday in California, claims that the Mexican hotel leads U.S. consumers to believe that the 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" is the title track from the Eagles' 1976 album. The song, which won a Grammy Award for record of the year, "in many ways embodies the very essence of the band itself," attorney Laura Wytsma wrote in the lawsuit.

"The song continues to be hugely popular, and the song's name has become synonymous with the band," Wytsma said.

According to the lawsuit, the hotel has been infringing upon the band's sale and distribution of merchandise, including T-shirts, posters, playing cards and refrigerator magnets, which the Eagles have been selling since the 1970s, under the "Hotel California" trademark.

The Hotel California in Mexico originally opened in 1950, 26 years before the song was released, but subsequently underwent name and ownership changes.

When Debbie and John Stewart purchased the hotel in 2001, they "sought to revitalize the hotel and create a reputation for it, based at least partially on the hotel's reputed, but false, connection to the Eagles," Wytsma wrote. "The Stewarts marketed the Todos Santos Hotel as 'Hotel California.'"

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. The lawsuit also asks for all related profits, plus damages, and demands a jury trial.

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