Published On: Mon, Jul 17th, 2017

Hard Rock Responds to Lawsuit Over New Hotel Brand


PHOTO: Hard Rock intends to ‘vigorously defend itself’ against Red Lion Hotels Corporation’s lawsuit. (photo via Flickr/Stefano) 

Red Lion Hotels Corporation (RLHC) has filed a lawsuit against Hard Rock International, claiming the hotel giant has stolen several of its millennial-focused concepts. 

RLHC’s suit accuses Hard Rock of infringement, unfair competition and injury to business reputation.

According to Hotels, RLHC alleges that Hard Rock’s new Reverb brand is ripping off of its own millennial-centric Hotel RL brand, which launched three years ago.

RLHC lists several examples it believes prove Hard Rock had ill intentions, including a similar mobile check-in process, stadium-style seating at its live entertainment venue and a comparable lobby coffee bar.

Although various elements of both chains can be found in other emerging midscale millennial-focused hotel brands, it’s worth noting that both RLHC and Hard Rock consulted the same branding group—The Gettys Group—to develop their respective brands. 

“While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and it is indeed understandable that Hard Rock would seek to imitate our brand’s success in this market, we are not appreciative of Hard Rock’s wholesale infringement of our trade dress with The Gettys Group’s help,” RLH Corp. President and CEO Greg Mount said in a statement. 

“Hard Rock’s infringement is particularly troubling in light of its aggressive litigation strategy to protect what it considers to be its own trade dress. RLH Corp. welcomes fair competition, but infringement of our trade dress is unfair and illegal,” Mount added. “We are prepared to defend our brands and will pursue all avenues available to RLH Corp. to ensure that all of our brands are protected.”

According to Hotels, RLH Corp. is seeking compensatory damages, an injunction and the profits from Hard Rock’s Reverb brand, in addition to legal fees and costs.

READ MORE: Millennial Travel Spending Experiences Growth Spurt

Hard Rock responded to the lawsuit in a brief statement Thursday: “Hard Rock International believes that the RLH Corporation’s claims are without merit, and will vigorously defend itself against such claims. Hard Rock has more than 46 years of experience and we are the authority in providing premium, lifestyle offerings and authentic music experiences to guests around the world. As this is pending litigation, Hard Rock has no further comment.”

Hard Rock was originally scheduled to launch the Reverb brand at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit during January 2018. Hotel RL launched in fall 2014 and currently boasts seven properties around the U.S.

RLHC also plans to take legal action against The Gettys Group. 



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