Eagles Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against Mexican ‘Hotel California’ — Is The Song Based On A Real Hotel?

There might be plenty of room at the Hotel California, but the band The Eagles are not interested in checking in, at least not into the Hotel California in Mexico, which has no affiliation with the band, and they want the owners of the hotel to stop capitalizing on a perceived link between the band The Eagles and the Hotel California in Todos Santos, Mexico. The remaining band members of The Eagles have filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the current owners of the Mexican Hotel California and are seeking damages, and all related profits in addition to a cease and desist order.

Last year, the band The Eagles suffered a great loss, as one of the founding members, Glenn Frey, died of a long-term illness, said the Inquisitr. Frey had been suffering from an intestinal ailment and rheumatoid arthritis for some time, and then developed pneumonia and ulcerative colitis. At the time of his death, the Frey family released a statement that was also signed by Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmidt, Bernie Leadon, and Irving Azoff. It also included the lyrics from the song “It’s Your World Now.”

But the lawsuit is not as simple as the use of the name Hotel California, which just happens to be the best-selling Eagles album and the most popular Eagles song; it is the fact that the current hotel owners, Debbie and John Stewart, have marketed the hotel to Americans visiting Mexico, suggesting that their Hotel California has a link to the band The Eagles. But things don’t stop there: the Stewarts also have a shop on-site that sells many items which also suggest a link to the band The Eagles, and the band wants a piece of that action too as part of their damages.


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Though neither the band nor the owners of the Mexican Hotel California are commenting on the lawsuit, the filing makes the issues clear.

“Multiple online reviews make clear that U.S. consumers who visit the Todos Santos Hotel and buy Defendants’ merchandise do, in fact, believe that the Todos Santos Hotel is associated with the Eagles, which is not the case.”

The filing continues, saying that the Mexican Hotel California has been selling merchandise for years with “Hotel California” and a logo on it.

“[Hotel California]arguably the band’s most popular song, and in many ways embodies the very essence of the band itself. The song continues to be hugely popular, and the song’s name has become synonymous with the band.”

The Eagles also sell merchandise with “Hotel California” on it, but ironically still have a trademark pending. While The Eagles say that in the song “Hotel California,” they are not referring to an actual place but more of a state of mind, the album cover is a drawing of The Beverly Hills Hotel. Reportedly, the album cover artist did not get permission from The Beverly Hills Hotel, but a lawsuit wasn’t going to happen, because bookings went up after the album was released by The Eagles.

But here is where things get a bit tricky and make it clear that this lawsuit is not a slam-dunk: the Mexican Hotel California opened in 1950, over two decades before The Eagles wrote the classic song. But the Mexican Hotel California has had several owners in that time, and the current owners, the Stewarts, bought the Hotel California in 2001, and they are the owners who started suggesting that there was a connection to the band through their marketing. The Stewarts play the music by The Eagles in the hotel’s lobby, and in several places in the marketing materials online, there is connection to the band.

But are Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmidt, and other band members reading too much into the connection between The Eagles song and the Mexican Hotel California? Reviews on major travel sites indicate that the band has a point. TripAdvisor indicates that many Americans who book a vacation at the Mexican Hotel California are under the impression that there is a connection between The Eagles and the actual hotel, Hotel California. Comments and reviews cement the connection.

“The Hotel California in Todos Santos is the original named in the 1970’s song by the Eagles. Surprisingly good food but clearly aimed at the American consumer. No real surprises given that the target market are Eagles fans.”

No doubt there must be a joke somewhere in the Hotel California policies that “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”

And yes, it’s true that there are other places around the world called Hotel California, but the others reportedly do not try to imply a connection with The Eagles.

Would you assume that a place called Hotel California must have a connection with The Eagles?

[Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]