An affiliate of Starwood Capital Group is suing the condo association at 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach for trademark infringement.
In a lawsuit filed in Miami federal court earlier this month, SH Group Global IP Holdings alleges the 2399 Collins Avenue Condominium Association and its president John Bostany “embarked on a calculated strategy” to improperly use 1 Hotel and Homes branding, including logos, owned by SH Group.
The complaint alleges that Bostany and the condo association are “gratuitously using” the 1 Hotel and Homes trademark by producing merchandise with 1 Homes on it, as well as petitioning the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to use the 1 Hotel and Homes trademark in connection with condominium association services, apparel, beach towels, and various other goods and services.
“Furthermore, the Association, at the direction, inducement and control of Bostany, has attempted to interfere with SH Group’s trademark rights by petitioning to cancel several of SH Group’s trademark registrations in the United States,” the lawsuit states. “SH Group has attempted in good faith to negotiate an amicable resolution…but Defendants have refused to cease interfering with and infringing SH Group’s trademark rights.”
In February of last year, Starwood Capital and LeFrak sold the luxury beachfront hotel to Host Hotels for $610 million, but SH Hotels & Resorts continued to operate and manage the 429-room hotel. The property also features 155 condos that are represented by the association.
Christina Lee Perry, lead attorney for SH Group, did not respond to a request for comment.
Condo association lawyer Dania Fernandez said her clients are not precluded from using the trademark. “It’s important to note in 2019, the condominium association filed a proceeding [with the U.S. Patent Office] to cancel ‘1 Hotel’ for fraud,” Fernandez said. “[SH Group’s] complaint omits that. Also, the condominium documents referred to in the complaint do not prohibit owners use of the 1 Hotel mark.”
The lawsuit claims the association’s use of SH Group’s intellectual property is undermining the investments of other unit owners, as well as breaching contractual obligations agreed to by all 1 Hotel South Beach condo owners. SH Group alleges the association’s use of “1 Homes” on its website and the meeting minutes of the association’s board meetings infringes on the trademark. The Starwood affiliate is also contesting the association’s ability to sell clothing and other 1 Homes-branded goods via an online store.
“The Association’s use of a mark confusingly similar to SH Group’s 1 Hotels & Homes in connection with condominium services is likely to make consumers mistakenly believe there is a connection, sponsorship, or association between the Association and SH Group,” The complaint states. “For instance, consumers and prospective unit owners are likely to assume that the Association is owned and/or operated by SH Group when that is not the case, and SH Group and the Association may not have the same interests.”
Formerly the Roney Palace and the Gansevoort Hotel, the property reopened in 2015 under the 1 Hotel banner. It features three restaurants, four pool decks, 57 cabanas and daybeds, a 14,000-square-foot gym and a 5,500-square-foot Bamford Haybarn Spa.