The quote “what's in a name” often evokes thoughts of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, where Juliet appears to believe that it does not matter if Romeo is her true love; since he is still from a rival family. Taking that quote in the context of real estate, it is critical for developers to have a unique name that would not be confused for other properties.
Such is the plight of a small Midtown hotel on and a proposed “superblock” being built near it on Manhattan's West Side. Brookfield Property Partners, the group behind the 67 story residential, retail and office property being built near midtown Manhattan has sued the Manhattan West hotel for trademark infringement.
According to a federal lawsuit filed last week, Brookfield claims that it trademarked the name “Manhattan West” in 2012 and has sent notice to the hotel's owner, CYMO Trading Corp, to stop using the name. Brookfield's complaint also notes that the hotel began using the name years after Brookfield used it to promote its project in its infancy.
Additionally, Brookfield believes that the hotel's name would cause confusion regarding a potential relationship between the hotel and the mega-development. The superblock also is poised to include a hotel that Brookfield believes will be confused with the other property. To that end, Brookfield seeks a permanent injunction barring the hotel from using the name, “Manhattan West” or any related variation.
While commonly used to protect original works, a trademark infringement lawsuit can enforce federal laws that protect the brand associated with a property. It remains to be seen whether the two sides will come to a resolution before the matter is litigated at trial.