Novotel says no way to Notel in brand name stoush

In a case described as “brand bullying”, global hotel chain Novotel is threatening to take legal action against a boutique accommodation provider located on a Melbourne rooftop.

Notel offers guests accommodation in six 1970s Airstream caravans on the roof of a CBD car park. However, Novotel is taking legal action claiming it’s name is too similar to its own.

Notel is derived from the “not a hotel” concept, James Fry told Channel Nine.

“We are based around having an experience-based accommodation that is different in every way shape and form to a hotel,” he said.

However, Novotel’s legal team argue the name is “deceptively similar” to that of the hotel group.

Legal documents also reportedly argue the brands “cover the same or similar services” and that there is a “real and tangible danger that the average Australian consumer seeing or hearing the competing marks may be confused or deceived”.

Speaking to Channel Nine, advertising expert Dee Madigan described the legal action as “brand bullying”, adding that “no-one would get them confused”.

“Every brand has got a right to protect itself, but Novotel means ‘new hotel’. It’s for people who like nice, clean, normal hotels,” Madigan said.

“Notel literally means ‘not a hotel’. These are caravans on top of a roof, so they’re not going for the same target market.”

The Trademark Office initially gave Fry the green light to use the name when he launched three years ago, however, this was challenged by Novotel at the time.