Intellectual Property Rights in the Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry is the industry that boosts the economy and growth of the country, but simultaneously the field is challenging as the aspect of ‘branding’ requires immense time and efforts, being highly competitive in the market. The hospitality industry is the industry which includes within its ambit hotels, bars, and tourism industry, that would enable the consumers to avail such services. In the hospitality industry, the aspect of ‘branding’ has been a recognized phenomenon, as it specifically talks about the status of that particular restaurant, hotel or a tourism department. Let’s take an example here, the logo of the famous Hotel ‘J W Marriot’ has been registered under trademarks, and attracts lot of consumers, because of its reputed position and goodwill in the society.

Henceforth, when the companies create their brand name, then there is a requirement for protecting those brand names, logos, designs from any kind of exploitation or illegal use and to maintain the status of reputation and goodwill in the society. These particular aspects can only be protected under the domain of Intellectual Property rights as it provides protection to the original and creative ideas of the owner. With the advancement in Intellectual Property Rights, people have started providing protection to their business through assets such as trademarks, logos, designs, copyrightable content etc. In generalized terms, every asset of IP that provides the right of exclusivity to the owner for its usage and for preventing the third parties from any kind of illegal use or exploitation seem to be beneficial for the sector of hospitality. In respect of hospitality industry, trademarks are an asset that provide protection to them in the form of registration of their logo names and brand names. Branding is the concept that lays its focus upon the experience of the customer and is considered as a marketing strategy rather than a legal one. It is not concerned with any territorial limitations and has cultural and social variations, that function nationally as well as globally. A successful brand name provides an identification and is centered around uniformity and consistency with respect to products, goods and services.

Trademark has been defined as a mark that includes within its ambit any word, symbol, configuration, device, brand, heading, ticket name etc. Hotels and restaurant can get their brand names and logos protected and registered as a trademark for the ease of doing business, and this registration would provide identification, source, quality and advertising to that hotel and restaurant. Henceforth, hotels and restaurants can be granted protection and registration under the NICE classification that has been adopted by India. The various classes are:

i. Class 43 precisely provides protection to the hospitality service providers which includes foods, drinks and any other services and travel accommodation.

ii. The hospitality department can protect their originally made perfumes, soaps, hair lotions, cosmetics etc by registering them under Class 3.

iii. The menus, cards or any kind of printed matter that is originally for the hotels and restaurants can be protected by registering it under class 16.

iv. The hotels and restaurants provide their staff members with their uniforms, shoes and all other necessities with a prescribe logo names, which can be acquired protection by registering it under class 25.

v. The hotels and restaurants can use methods of advertisement, business management and administration, which an be protected under class 35.

The trademark for the logo and building was first obtained by the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai under class 43 of the fourth schedule of the Trademarks Rules. Secondly, the Oberoi Hotels Private Limited have registered their wordmark ‘Oberoi’ under Class 43, and additionally have also registered their own soaps, shampoos and menus specifically under Class 3 and 16. Thirdly, the Radisson Hotels International Private Limited have also claimed protection for their wordmark ‘Radisson’ under class 43 and additionally other services under Class 3, 16,25 and 35. Fourthly, the Hyatt hotels have also registered their mark and logo ‘HYATT’ under class 43 and additionally other services under class 3, 16, and 35.

Hence, the hotels and restaurants must adopt trademark as a mechanism for protecting their logos and brands, which would help protect their distinctiveness and thereby providing inclusiveness and reputation and goodwill in the society. This would also help in the growth of their business and other service-related activities.