W Hotels vs. George W. Bush: Who’s the Real W?

Starwood Hotels and Resorts has fired off legal letters to political merchandisers, demanding that they remove the “W” from Bush memorabilia that they’re selling such as W hats, W t-shirts, and other such apparel. They claim such memorabilia erods the brand value of its W hotels.

Eugene Volokh has been on a roll outlining the legal issues surrounding trademark and copyright (such as here on the use of corporate logos in film and here on copyright and forwarding messages from email lists). I’ll be interested to see if he’ll comment on this issue.

I imagine they’d have a case if merchandisers simply appropriated the same “W” graphic used by W hotels and argued that it ‘really’ applied to Bush. But as long as the W is different (how different?) Bush partisans must be able to buy W t-shirts. But I’m not a lawyer.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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