Hotel Lawyer on the importance of brands — intellectual property rights and what they mean

By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group® Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com 16 August 2011 Hotel Lawyer with what it all means: Family Suites Resorts v. Viacom International d/b/a MTV Networks — a suit over branding I was recently interviewed by Jason Freed of HotelNewsNow (a division of Smith Travel Research) about three high profile lawsuits in the hospitality industry. In the third and final lawsuit we discussed, Family Suites Resorts v. Viacom International d/b/a MTV Networks, we discussed the Family Suites lawsuit. Family suites operates a Nickelodeon-themed hotel, and claims its licensing rights were breached when Viacom entered into an agreement with Marriott to franchise the Nickelodeon brand. According to the complaint, Family Suites Resorts spent $168 million on its Nickelodeon-themed property — money it would not have spent if guests could get the Nickelodeon hotel experience elsewhere. So what happened? An industry built on intellectual property. As Jason quotes me as saying in the article: "This is an industry that relies on intellectual property–that's what brands are." See, The 5 questions every owner should ask before selecting a hotel brand.

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