The long running dispute between James Packer’s Crown Resorts group and the InterContinental Hotels Group intensified recently with IHG launching an opposition to Crown Resorts’ philanthropic arm trading as ‘Crown Resorts Foundation’.
At heart is a dispute over Packer’s use of the Crown Resorts name. Back in 2013, Crown Limited changed its name to Crown Resorts. IHG, owner of the Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts hotel brand, soon took action to oppose the use, and has said it would continue to oppose the use of Crown Resorts in any form to avoid “customer confusion” with its hotel chain. IHG has owned a trademark for ‘Crowne Plaza’ since 1983, along with a number of associated trademarks and logos.
The parties had been working through the dispute resolution process at IP Australia when this latest stoush came to light. Both had sought a cooling-off period in a bid to settle the original opposition matter in mediation, but it is unclear how the newest development will affect those discussions.
IHG’s representative Yvette Peverell commented: “As a responsible trademark owner, we take the steps we believe are necessary to protect these rights and, when necessary, to oppose the acquisition of conflicting rights by other entities to avoid customer confusion…We are having active discussions with Crown Resorts and we are hopeful we will reach a satisfactory resolution in the near future.”
Crown Resorts spokeswoman Natasha Stipanov said has stated that the company will “vigorously defend any oppositions to its trademarks.”
Trade mark disputes are not new territory for the Packer brand. Last year it withdrew its action in the Federal Court attempting to block a Sydney property developer selling luxury apartments under the banner of Crown Group.
We will keep you posted.