Transportation, Hospitality & Leisure

Ladas & Parry is proud to act as intellectual property counsel to many leaders in the transportation, hospitality, and leisure fields, including leading vehicle rental/leasing companies, international luxury hotels and resorts, multinational food service retailers, and exclusive corporate identity counsel to the second largest global airline alliance having twenty-two member airlines. Our global expertise informs our advice to clients in these industries, ensuring that as they service nearly all international destinations, their IP is fully utilized and protected wherever they operate.

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21.Apr.17Ladas & Parry LLP is thankful for all of the attendees of the 2017 INTA Annual Meeting in...

11.Apr.17Ralph H. Cathcart and Jennifer Kwon of our New York office were recently mentioned in an article on...

15.Mar.17Ladas & Parry announced on Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 the launch of Principium Strategies,...

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+ Brand Selection in the Transportation, Hospitality & Leisure Industries

In the highly-competitive transportation, hospitality, and leisure industries, trademark selection can be one of the most important aspects to the success of a company because consumers often decide where to visit, book travel, and make purchases without any other information than what they find on a website. As such, a natural tension exists between the needs of marketing, which desires brand names that quickly convey the essence of a place or service to potential customers and the dictates of trademark law, which does not protect descriptive marks. We counsel our clients regarding trademark selection, clearance, and registration throughout the world and our international expertise enables us to ensure they find legally available and enforceable marks that also account for local cultural impressions and sensitivity.

+ Identification of IP Assets

Our clients’ IP rights extend well beyond their trademarks and brands. We counsel our clients to identify other valuable IP assets such as their color schemes, logos, copyrights, trade dress, trade secrets, business methods and other inventions and assist them in protecting and enforcing these rights against their competitors and imitators.

+ Protecting Trademarks in the Country Where Customers Book Travel

Transportation and hospitality businesses may not operate in a country where a substantial portion of their clientele book their services; nevertheless, it is often important to protect trademarks in the country of sale, in addition to the countries where services are performed. Many of our clients elect to register marks in these countries of interest, but face difficulties proving use of the mark when faced with adversarial proceedings. Other challenges include drafting and managing the extensive and complicated licensing regime vital to permit transportation alliance members to use a common shared identity while strictly controlling appearance, presentation, and service quality of the licensees. Our rich knowledge of trademark law throughout the world enables us to create strategies to assist our clients in maintaining and defending their rights.

+ Franchising Throughout the World

Franchising is one of the most frequently used methods for travel and hospitality companies to expand into new markets and can be extremely effective when done correctly. We counsel clients who wish to expand their brand through franchise relationships in all parts of the world.  We also serve clients who are franchisees to ensure that they are able to maximize the value of the business through use of the franchised brand. In the hotel industry, among others, management of the property greatly affects the arrangement. We advise clients about whether to create a brand-managed, third-party-managed, or franchisee-managed arrangement based on the goals and abilities of each party. We also counsel clients regarding the sale of franchised properties and the transfer or termination of franchise agreements.

+ Brand Extension and Licensing

Brand extension and licensing are important mechanisms for companies in the transportation and hospitality world not only to expand business, but also to further customer loyalty and experience. Whether a hotel features slippers with the hotel logo, an airline provides branded sleeping masks for its passengers, or a restaurant sells its own sauces and beverages, trademark licensing is an essential aspect of the business. Our transactional group routinely counsels clients with respect to drafting and negotiating all forms of intellectual property license agreements and we ensure that trademarks used in ancillary products or services are properly protected, licensed, and maintained to ensure brand quality.

+ Co-Branding and Strategic Alliances

Transportation and hospitality companies frequently partner together to create package deals, such as air travel, car rental and hotel packages, or with non-related companies, such as discounts and reward loyalty programs when purchased with a particular credit card. When our clients consider co-branding ventures, we provide guidance in negotiating and structuring these agreements to address the rights and ownership of intellectual property owned by each company prior to the collaboration, as well as the rights and ownership of intellectual property created in the context of the co-branded venture.

+ Reputational Issues and Online Reviews

As customers continue to rely heavily on online reviews and social media in order to make their purchasing and booking decisions, travel and hospitality brands must work diligently to ensure that the quality of their services remains high. One aspect of preserving a good reputation through online appearance is to monitor closely the quality of goods or services provided by licensees and franchisees. But what about where positive products and services are not reflected online due to increasingly common fake reviewing, known as astroturfing? This problem, which particularly affects and has significant impact on smaller businesses, such as boutique hotels, must be addressed to minimize harmful damage. We counsel our clients on the governmental regulations in various countries relating to such practices and assist them in discussions with the host website to remove false content.

+ Domain Names for Transportation, Hospitality and Leisure Companies

Travel, hospitality, and leisure companies may wish to explore the option of reserving their trademarks and other keywords on new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) that relate to their particular market, such as .fly, .sky, .cars, .drive, .hotels, or .spa, or to related industries, such as .tours or .vacations, where permissible.  We provide our clients with domain name registration services through our affiliated brand monitoring service and ICANN-accredited domain name registrar subsidiary, Principium Strategies.  Principium Strategies also provides watch services to monitor third-party attempts to register domain names of terms similar and identical to our clients’ trademarks on any top level domain.  Our vast experience handling domain name conflicts through negotiation, dispute resolution, and litigation throughout the world enables us to support mobile technology companies by protecting their rights in the digital world.