California Intellectual Property Blog


Delta Air Lines sues Marriott for Trademark Infringement

Los Angeles – Delta Air Lines, Inc. recently sued Marriott International, Inc. for trademark infringement for utilizing the DELTA trademark in relation to hotels. Marriott purchased the Canadian Delta hotel chain in 2015 and has been expanding its Delta hotels throughout Canada and now into the U.S. Delta claims that with a recent Marriott rebranding they are now even copying the designs and color schemes of Delta’s logo.

Delta is claiming that Marriott has completely disregarded Delta’s trademark rights to gain commercial benefit from travelers that are looking for a hotel while on the road. Delta is obviously a significant player in the airline industry with millions of travelers worldwide flying Delta every single day. While walking through an airport, it is a guarantee that you have seen some aspect of DELTA branding. The Delta name, logo, branded colors and fonts, and advertisements are found everywhere in and around airports. The company is also associated with a wide range of travel-related services, credit card reward programs, hospitality services, and much more outside of the travel industry like entertainment venues, sports teams, and charitable organizations. Delta has alleged that Marriot is using the Delta trademark on airport transportation which is adding to the confusion.

Delta states that Marriott made calculated strategies to mimic the majority of Delta’s trademarks for the Delta Hotels. Marriot has opened what Delta has term “airport hotels” branded under the DELTA trademark, and it has blurred the lines for consumers and especially airline travelers. Delta is concerned that consumers will almost certainly believe that the hotel chain is aligned with the airline in some way.

According to the court dockets, Delta has become the leading airline company in revenue and operates out of all significant travel hubs in the United States. Delta maintains that the hotel chain is not only an infringement on the brand but could be especially confusing for Delta customers who receive airline rewards through their loyal customer benefits. If Delta consumers believe that their rewards are aligned with the Marriott chain, then confusion in the marketplace will only get worse.

Thus far this seems to be a head scratcher as to what Marriott is thinking here. With upwards of 30 hotel brands under the Marriot umbrella, it seems that attempting to expand the Delta hotel chain is a bad idea. If Delta wins the case, Marriott will likely have to rebrand and may also be on the hook for the damages caused by the infringement.


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