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Hotel Lawyer on the Importance of Brands - Intellectual Property Rights
and What They Mean

Family Suites Resorts v. Viacom International d/b/a MTV Networks - a Suit Over Branding


By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®, 
Author of www.HotelLawBlog.com
August 17, 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.

Hotel owners spend considerable time and resources selecting the best brand to operate their hotels. And owners and operators can spend considerable time and resources entering into licensing agreements that make their brand unique. See, Hospitality Lawyer on hotel brands -- How far will the pendulum swing? What's in a name? Just ask Starwood, Hilton . . . Coca-Cola or Procter & Gamble.

It is the license agreement, in this case, that makes the Family Suites Resorts hotel unique.

For a hotel owner or operator, locking down essential agreements like the hotel management agreement, the franchise agreement, and licensing agreement are critical to the success of a hotel. It takes experience and expertise to structure good agreements and often hotels don't know their agreements are flawed until something goes wrong. (Then it is too late!)

It is likely that the license agreement between Family Suites Resorts and Viacom will spell out exactly how exclusive the Nickelodeon license is. Hotel owners and operators will be very interested to see how this case is resolved, as intellectual property rights, which should be spelled out in the licensing agreement are critical to profitability.

Click here to read my commentary on M Waikiki's Edition litigation against Marriott and Ian Schrager.

Click here to read my commentary on Hotel Lawyer on the fiduciary, contractual and agency duties of hotel brokers - Host Hotels & Resorts LP v. Molinaro Koger litigation.

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This is Jim Butler, author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and hotel lawyer, signing off. We've done more than $60 billion of hotel transactions and have developed innovative solutions to unlock value from hotels. Who's your hotel lawyer?

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Our Perspective. We represent hotel lenders, owners and investors. We have helped our clients find business and legal solutions for more than $60 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 1,300 properties all over the world. For more information, please contact Jim Butler at jbutler@jmbm.com or +1 (310) 201-3526.

Jim Butler is a founding partner of JMBM, and Chairman of its Global Hospitality Group® and Chinese Investment Group™. Jim is one of the top hospitality attorneys in the world. GOOGLE "hotel lawyer" and you will see why.

Jim and his team are more than "just" great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors. They are deal makers. They can help find the right operator or capital provider. They know who to call and how to reach them.



JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®
The hotel lawyers in the Global Hospitality Group® of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell (JMBM) comprise the premier hospitality practice in a full-service law firm and are the authors of the Hotel Law Blog. We represent hotel owners, developers, investors and lenders and have helped our clients find business and legal solutions for more than $60 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 1,000 properties worldwide. For more information about the Global Hospitality Group®, go to www.HotelLawBlog.com. For more information about full range of legal services provided by JMBM, go to www.JMBM.com.
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Contact: 

Jim Butler
jbutler@jmbm.com
310.201.3526

 

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Also See: Hotel Lawyer on the Fiduciary, Contractual and Agency Duties of Hotel Brokers - Host Hotels & Resorts LP v. Molinaro Koger Litigation / Jim Butler / August 2011

M Waikiki's Edition Lawsuit Against Marriott International and Ian Schrager - an Owner's HMA Dispute with Marriott and What it All Means / Jim Butler / August 2011

Hotel Investment: Why Asian investors are targeting U.S. hotels for purchase and investment, and what could it mean for you? / Jim Butler / August 2011

Hotel Developers: Why a "regional center" may be the key to financing your next hotel development or expansion. And what you need to know... / Jim Butler / July 2011

How to use the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program for financing / Jim Butler / July 2011

JMBM Announces Formation of the Chinese Investment Group™ - Hotels, Real Estate, EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visas / July 2011

Hotel Lawyer: How do you know when you should set up a captive insurance company for your hotel? Take our "litmus test". / Jim Butler & Gordon Schaller / July 2011

Hotel Lawyer: What you need to know about the "ancillary benefits" of setting up a captive insurance company / Jim Butler & Gordon Schaller / June 2011

Hotel Lawyer: Are you thinking about setting up a captive insurance company? Maybe you should be. . . / Jim Butler & Gordon Schaller / June 2011

Hotel Lawyer in New York with pre-NYU industry forecast: Sunny with occasional clouds and NO storms on the horizon / Jim Butler / June 2011

Hotel Lawyer with the Executive Roundtable Results; Debt is returning, equity is out looking, and we've passed the bottom of the trough. Why now is the time to purchase a hotel. / Jim Butler / June 2011

ADA Defense Lawyer: How to Quickly Lose Business. (No ADA-Compliant Reservation System) / Jim Butler & David Sudeck / May 2011

Hotel Lawyer with Fresh Perspectives on the Hotel Industry from Smith Travel / Jim Butler / May 2011

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Hotel Lawyers' Updates on Capital and Debt Markets for Hotels, Transaction Sales Data and Financings / Jim Butler / May 2011

Hotel Lawyer with Updates on Hotel Cap Rates, Values and Transactions / Jim Butler / May 2011

Hotel Lawyer with nuggets from JMBM's Meet the Money® 2011 / Jim Butler / May 2011

Hotel Lawyer: The hotel transaction market is heating up! / Jim Butler / April 2011

Hotel Lawyer with good news! A new federal court decision upholds condo hotel structure. No "securities" involved as structured. Disgruntled condo hotel unit purchaser lawsuit dismissed. / Jim Butler / April 2011

Meet the Money®: Hotel Financing Renaissance is Underway! / Jim Butler / April 2011

JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® announces publication of The HMA Handbook, a FREE practical guide for negotiating Hotel Management Agreements for Hotel Owners, Developers, Investors and Lenders / March 2011

Buying a Hotel? Don't Buy an ADA Lawsuit or DOJ Investigation / Jim Butler / March 2011

Hotel Lawyer on Hotel Management Agreements: Exculpation Clauses for Protecting the Owner's Assets / Jim Butler / February 2011

ADA Defense Lawyer: How to handle an ADA lawsuit....and How not to do it / Jim Butler / February 2011

Hotel Lawyer: 5 Key Elements for Good Hotel Management Agreement Budget Provisions / Jim Butler / February 2011

How improving fundamentals make 2011 the year of "Great Expectations" for the Hotel Industry / Jim Butler / February 2011

Ask the Hotel Lawyer: 2011 is starting as the year of "Great Expectations" for the hotel industry! / Jim Butler / January 2011

Hotel ADA Defense Lawyer: How a recent ADA case affects all hotels but particularly conference centers and meeting hotels / Jim Butler / January 2011

Hotel Lawyer: So, You Think You Want to Buy a Hotel? For savvy investors, the time could be right / Jim Butler / January 2011

Sheraton Universal Hotel Sale Facilitated by JMBM's Global Hospitality Group® / Jim Butler / January 2011



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