The hotel name plays a crucial role in contact with customers. It identifies and distinguishes the company from competitors and is closely linked to the range of services offered. These functions create a legal need for protection.
Identical or similar hotel names can lead to confusion in competition and thus damage business. The law therefore provides various means of protection for the hotel name, enabling hotel operators to defend themselves against unauthorized use of the name. These include protection under commercial law for the registered company name, protection under civil law for the right to use the name, and other regulations under competition law.
Protection as a company name
At the heart of name protection for hotels, however, are the provisions of the Law on the Protection of Trademarks and Other Distinctive Marks (MarkenG). In addition to registered trademarks, this law also protects so-called "corporate identifiers". This refers to signs that are used in the course of business as a name, company name or as a special designation of a business operation or a company, but are not registered as a trademark. Nevertheless, they also enjoy protection under trademark law if they have a name function, for example as a hotel name, and guests associate the name with a particular company.
The legal protection of a company name begins with its use in business dealings and ends with the abandonment of the name or company. It does not have to be entered in a register. The rights holder is thus enabled, for example, to take action against third parties in the form of an injunction. This is the case if they make unauthorized use of the designation or a similar sign in a way that may cause confusion or constitutes other impairment or exploitation.
Tip: Trademark search
Trademark protection begins with registration in the trademark register. If the decision is made in favor of a distinctive trademark, a professional trademark search should be carried out prior to registration in order to avoid infringement of existing trademarks and to prevent costly proceedings. It is advisable to consult a specialist attorney for industrial property protection, since the trademark office does not check for such infringement when the application is filed.
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