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Duff on Hospitality Law

Category Archives: Hotels

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BrandVerity’s Latest Study on the Use (and Abuse) of Branded Keywords in Paid Search

Posted in Brands and Trademarks, Hotels

We are excited to announce that The State of Branded Keywords in Paid Search, Q4 2014 is now available for download from our good friends (and former contributors) at Seattle-based BrandVerity. This comprehensive report shows how third parties use popular brand terms in paid search advertising, and includes over 250 brands from 10 different categories…. Continue Reading

FCC Update: FCC Will “Aggressively” Investigate and Take Action Against Illegal Blockage of Wi-Fi Hot Spots

Posted in Hotels, Wi-Fi hotspots

Any uncertainty regarding the FCC’s position on hotels’ interference with Wi-Fi hot spots was answered yesterday.  In its January 27, 2015 Enforcement Advisory, the FCC spoke directly to the “disturbing trend” of hotels and other commercial establishments that block personal Wi-Fi hot spots.  Colin Andrews, member of our Communications practice team in Washington, D.C., brings… Continue Reading

TripAdvisor Doesn’t Have to Disclose Anonymous Identity of Bad Reviewer Due to Oregon’s Shield Law

Posted in Hotels, Technology

Following up on her previous blog posts,  Hospitality, Travel and Tourism practice team member, Judy Endejan, shares the latest legal developments in the battle over negative on-line reviews.  Thank you, Judy! – Greg  The latest skirmish between businesses and negative on-line reviewers resulted in a win for TripAdvisor.  On December 30, 2014 an Oregon trial… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Distinguishes Between Donning and Doffing and Waiting in Line

Posted in Employment Law, Food and Beverage, Hotels

Nancy Cooper, member of our Labor and Employment group and Hospitality, Travel and Tourism practice team, discusses how the recent Supreme Court ruling, Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, may impact potential employee wage and hour claims for hourly employees in the future.  Thank you for today’s post, Nancy! – Greg The Supreme Court ruled recently… Continue Reading

Washington State Liquor Control Board Rules Now Prohibit Marijuana Consumption in Liquor Licensed Premises: Implications for Licensed Hotel Properties

Posted in Cannabis, Garvey Schubert Barer, Hotel Guest Room Privacy, Hotels

Jared Van Kirk is a member of Garvey Schubert Barer’s Labor and Employment Group and a previous blog contributor.  Jared has been following how legalized recreational marijuana in Washington affects all employers and how the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) will regulate marijuana consumption in premises holding liquor licenses, which will have a direct… Continue Reading


Posted in Data Privacy, Hotels

I’m pleased to introduce guest author, Nick Montera, Vice President, Account Executive and head of the hospitality practice at Parker, Smith & Feek.  PS&F is an insurance and risk management brokerage firm headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, providing innovative insurance solutions to clients nationwide.  We appreciate Nick sharing his expertise and insights on this important and timely subject.  – Roger Hillman… Continue Reading

There Is Such a Thing as a (Tax-) Free Lunch—Washington’s Department of Revenue Agrees

Posted in Hotels, Tax

Today’s post is co-authored by two of my colleagues in our state and local tax practice group, Michelle DeLappe and Miriam Woods. It is not every day that Washington’s Department of Revenue issues a determination in which the taxpayer wins. In fact, it is a rare occasion when the Department decides that it was wrong;… Continue Reading

Don’t Jam Your Customers’ Mobile Hot Spots!

Posted in Hotels, Wi-Fi hotspots

Marriott International, Inc. found out the expensive way that it should not disable customers’ mobile hotspots.  It entered a Consent Decree with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) in which it agreed to pay $600,000 to the U.S. Treasury. A number of mobile devices, such as smart phones, can serve as a wireless access point to… Continue Reading

Guest Room Privacy and the Fourth Amendment

Posted in Hotel Guest Room Privacy, Hotels

Hotels are faced with a delicate balancing act when it comes to maintaining guest privacy.  Hotel staff must comply with police investigations when noncompliance would constitute obstruction of justice.  At the same time, hotel employees must recognize their guests’ Fourth Amendment right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures.  If hotel employees comply with… Continue Reading

What is “Suitable Seating” and How Does It Affect My Business?

Posted in Employment Law, Food and Beverage, Hotels

California employers are currently scratching their heads over how to interpret “suitable seating” that is required under California Wage Orders.  Nancy Cooper, member of our Labor and Employment Group and Hospitality, Travel and Tourism practice team, discusses how that term is defined will affect your business.  Thank you for today’s post, Nancy! – Greg Section 1198 of… Continue Reading

Hotel Rebranding: Time for a Change?

Posted in Brands and Trademarks, Hotels

Is hotel rebranding the latest 2014 trend? Claire Hawkins, Chair of Garvey Schubert Barer’s Intellectual Property Practice and new author to Duff on Hospitality, weighs in on the topic and offers her insights on the intellectual property elements you’ll need to consider.  Thank you for today’s post, Claire! – Greg   Is hotel rebranding trending, and… Continue Reading

The Challenges that Hotel Brands Face in Paid Search

Posted in Hotels

I’m pleased to introduce guest author Sam Engel, from BrandVerity.  BrandVerity provides services that detect online brand and trademark abuse for a variety of industries including hospitality. Sam spoke recently to members of our Hospitality, Travel and Tourism team at our monthly meeting.  We’re grateful that Sam has offered to now share his experience and knowledge with… Continue Reading

Chinese Investment in the U.S. Hotel Industry

Posted in Hotels

Today’s blog post was contributed by Garvey Schubert Barer’s D.C. attorney and China Practice Chair, Richard Gluck, based on original research by GSB’s Yi Zhang. His extensive knowledge of international business and collaboration between the U.S. and China is a great resource to the firm. We’re grateful to have him as a new author to the Duff… Continue Reading

Portland Convention Center Hotel Moves a Step Closer

Posted in Hotels

On Monday March 3, 2014, a Multnomah County Circuit judge agreed with the Multnomah County Elections Director and brought a new hotel at the Oregon Convention Center one step closer to fruition.  A Convention Center Hotel has long been desired by a variety of tourism and economic development interests who argue that such hotel will… Continue Reading

WaterSense H2Otel Challenge

Posted in Hotels

On February 5, 2014 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the “WaterSense H2Otel” challenge, a program encouraging hotels to implement best management practices for reducing their water usage.  As part of “WaterSense H2Otel,” the EPA is providing technical assistance using webinars and other forms of outreach including case studies on the “lessons learned” from other… Continue Reading

Carbon Monoxide: Protecting Your Guests and Protecting Yourself

Posted in Hotels

Today’s blog is a litigation update on the devastating North Carolina hotel carbon monoxide leak. Please make sure that your business and hotel guests are protected. Thank you to Roger Hillman, GSB Hospitality Team member and Litigation Group Chair, for the post.  – Greg The recent deaths of three hotel guests (a husband and wife from Longview, WA, and… Continue Reading

The Search for a Uniform 911 System

Posted in Hotels

The recent death of a hotel guest in Texas has again brought attention to guest access and use of our nation’s public safety system. Colin Andrews, a member of our communications practice in Washington, D.C., has been monitoring the situation and provided us with the timely update and call to action below. Thank you, Colin, and… Continue Reading

Clamping Down on “Apartment-Sharing” Website AirBNB

Posted in Hotels

New York State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has made waves in recent months by subpoenaing the popular “apartment-sharing” website AirBNB for information on more than 15,000 of the website’s hosts in New York City.  The subpoenas were issued as part of Schneiderman’s campaign to enforce a 2010 New York law that took effect last year, clamping… Continue Reading

Important OFT Update: OFT Issues Notice to Accept Proposed Booking Commitments

Posted in Hotels

The U.K.’s Office of Fair Trade (OFT) is currently evaluating and accepting public comments on whether formal commitments proposed by Booking.com B.V. (Booking.com), Expedia Inc (Expedia) and InterContinental Hotels Group plc (IHG) sufficiently address its competition concerns regarding the online offering of room only hotel accommodations by Online Travel Agents.  The OFT is soliciting feedback… Continue Reading

Update on the Online Travel Company/Hotel Booking Antitrust Litigation: Plaintiffs Add New Defendants

Posted in Hotels

Don Scaramastra has provided an update for our readers on the status of the class-action involving online distributors and certain hotel operators with regards to antitrust laws related to online distribution. Catch up on the original post here and continue reading for an update on this topic. – Greg  On May 1, 2013, plaintiffs filed a consolidated amended… Continue Reading

Duff on Design: Staying In Budget

Posted in Hotels

We all know the importance of appearance and design in the hospitality industry.  We also know the importance and priority of saving money. Garvey Schubert Barer’s client, V*Starr Interiors, founded and led by another inspirational client Venus Williams, was kind enough to put together a guest blog post on staying in budget through re-purposing.  V*Starr Interiors’ experience… Continue Reading

Visa, MasterCard Propose 6+ Billion Dollar Settlement in Merchant Class Action Litigation Over Interchange Fees

Posted in Food and Beverage, Group Sales and Events, Hotels, Liquor, Travel, Update

Several clients have lately been asking about notices they’ve received that look like this. If they come from the Eastern District court in New York, they’re legitimate, and if you are a merchant who accepted Visa or MasterCard or both between January 1, 2004 and November 28, 2012, you are a probably a member of… Continue Reading