18 March 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Delta Airlines slams Marriott’s ‘absurd’ TM strategy

Marriott Hotels’ expansion of its Canadian brand Delta Hotels into the US has angered Delta Airlines, which has hit out at the company for refusing to “see reason” and negotiate a licence to the air carrier’s trademarks.

In a lawsuit filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia last week, Delta said Marriott had engaged in “concerted effort to sow confusion and trade-off on Delta’s strong reputation and trademark rights” for a series of hotels.

Marriott International, one of the biggest hoteliers in the world, plans to extend its Delta Hotels brand into the US.

Delta has objected and formally accused the hotel operator of infringing its US trademark rights.

According to Delta, the Marriott chain, which includes airport hotels, will likely confuse consumers into thinking the US airline is behind the venture.

Marriott has also attempted to block several pending trademark applications filed by Delta. The airline said these oppositions had been filed on the “absurd grounds” that the Delta marks would cause confusion with Marriott’s “upstart Delta Hotels” brand.

“Delta has attempted in good faith to negotiate an amicable resolution of the parties’ trademark disputes, but Marriott has refused to cease interfering with Delta’s trademark rights and causing consumer confusion,” the complaint said.

The complaint accused Marriott of “attempting to string Delta along with virtually endless, spaced-out negotiations” while pressing ahead with the US expansion of the brand.

It stated: “It now seems apparent that Marriott’s plan has been to barrel ahead with its Delta Hotels expansion in the US, regardless of Delta’s attempts to make Marriott see reason.”

Delta Airlines said the Marriott brand had already caused direct confusion, citing consumers’ reviews on TripAdvisor stating that they thought the venture was linked to Delta products such as air mile programmes.

WIPR has contacted Marriott for comment in response to Delta Airlines’ allegations.

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