Lawyer Up! W Minneapolis Condos Receive Cease and Desist Letter From Starwood Hotels & Resorts

by Alex Stenback on October 16, 2007


Way back in the spring of 2006, we ran a contest around these parts to name a condo project in Minneapolis’ Whittier Neighborhood.  Maybe you remember.

The winning entry was the W, or WMinneapolis (the W for the Whittier neighborhood – get it?)  Anyway, turns out that Starwood Hotels and Resorts has now delivered a cease and desist letter to the owner/developers defending this "W" trademark.  Quoting from the letter, of which we have a copy:

…Plainly, you are attempting to capitalize on the fame and reputation of the Starwood W properties to mislead potential buyers into believing that WC is associated with Starwood, and that you will have the same superior quality and attention to detail that consumers have come to expect from Starwood’s W Properties…

The letter goes on to accuse W Minneapolis of cybersquatting the domain, and demands that all W references anywhere be eliminated and/or destroyed.

Not that we know thing one about trademark law, but given that there is a darn good record of how the property was actually named, which in no way involved piggybacking on Starwoods "fame and reputation" we think they have a reason to fight this.

There’s also an Irony Angle.  Starwood is involved in Ralph Burnet’s (Chairman of Coldwell Banker Burnet realty) plan to convert the landmark Foshay tower into the "W Foshay" Hotel.  The agent marketing the condos, Derrik Dyka, is employed by Coldwell Banker Burnet.

But the best part? It’s all Jason Derusha’s fault, since he was the one who submited the winning entry.  We still have the email.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason DeRusha October 16, 2007 at 3:12 pm

Wow. Remember all the talk early on about this being a lawsuit-target? I’m sorry.

But I’m not returning the iPod nor am I reimbursing you guys for lunch.

Todd Carpenter October 16, 2007 at 3:24 pm

If you would have chosen one of my names, you wouldn’t be in this mess. That’s all I have to say. ;)

Alexis October 16, 2007 at 3:53 pm

Nice going, DeRusha.

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