Business & Tech

Fidelity sues Omni hotel developers over use of ‘Seaport Hotel’ name

Omni Hotels officials, Mayor Martin Walsh, Governor Charlie Baker, and other dignitaries met to ceremonially break ground on the Omni hotel project across the street from the convention center in the Seaport District.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Omni Hotels officials, Mayor Martin Walsh, Governor Charlie Baker, and other dignitaries met to ceremonially break ground on the Omni hotel project across the street from the convention center in the Seaport District.

Fidelity Investments has sued the developers behind a massive new hotel under construction in the South Boston waterfront area, saying the name of the 1,054-room project conflicts with the nearby Seaport Hotel owned by the financial giant.

Lane Turner/Globe Staff
A high-profile groundbreaking event for the $550 million project drew Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and local power brokers.

Fidelity filed its lawsuit against the developers of the Omni Boston Seaport Hotel on Monday, just one day before the team held a high-profile groundbreaking event for the $550 million project that drew Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and local power brokers.

Fidelity opened its Seaport Hotel 20 years ago, when the surrounding area was little more than a patchwork of parking lots, old warehouses, and seafood restaurants — quite different from the neighborhood of high-end buildings there today. By using “Seaport Hotel” in its project, Fidelity said Omni “can only have been intended to trade upon the fame, reputation and goodwill that Fidelity’s Seaport Hotel has so painstakingly developed over the past 20 years.”

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The investment firm said it expressed its concerns about the name conflict when it first learned of Omni’s plan for the hotel in March 2017. It eventually suggested a slight adjustment to the name to avoid confusing travelers but received no commitment by the time of the groundbreaking.

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“Fidelity made every effort to try to reach a compromise before filing this complaint,” company spokesman Vin Loporchio said. “Shortly before the scheduled groundbreaking, Omni indicated its intent to litigate this dispute, forcing Fidelity’s hand.”

Robin Brown, principal for Omni development partner Spot On Ventures LLC, said he is hoping for a speedy resolution to the dispute.

“We think this will get resolved quickly and amicably,” Brown said.

Fidelity wants a court order that prevents the developers from using the name “Omni Boston Seaport Hotel” — or any other name that infringes on or could be confused with Fidelity’s “Seaport” trademarks.

Fidelity says it suggested a slight adjustment to the new hotel’s name to avoid confusing travelers but received no commitment by the time of the groundbreaking.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Fidelity says it suggested a slight adjustment to the new hotel’s name to avoid confusing travelers but received no commitment by the time of the groundbreaking.

Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.