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B.C. fantasy Airbnb threatened with lawsuit for using the word 'Hobbit'

'I just thought I'd call it the Hobbit Mountain Hideaway and then people started calling in the Hobbit Hole.'
The Airbnb is nestled between Osoyoos and Rock Creek in the South Okanagan.

custom-built hobbit-style home nestled in the rolling hills outside in the rural South Okanagan has come under fire for using a copyrighted word in their name.

Christine Le Comte and her husband run the Hobbit Mountain Hole BnB, which is settled on a ranch roughly 30 minutes outside of Osoyoos. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series both inspired the house that was built and finished in 2019, and opened as an Airbnb in May of that year.

Beloved by fans of the Tolkien universe, the home quickly gained attention and has become a well-known spot in the area. But this spotlight also got the attention of the multinational mass-media company Warner Brothers, and they were less than pleased with the use of the name.

“We have to change it, I've been getting several emails from Warner Brothers and they seem to be incredibly concerned about us using the word hobbit,” Le Comte explained.

Emails were sent to Le Comte and Airbnb by Warner Brothers explaining that the home is violating the trademark rights of the company, demanding for the listing to be suspended or be modified in a way that does not use their trademarks from the series.

“They are threatening to take legal actions against us to close down the hobbit hole if we continue to use the word hobbit,” Le Comte added. “I didn't think of 'Hobbit' as being a trademark registered by Warner Brothers. You just don't think in those terms, that a word is like in jail.”

Le Comte explained that when she took over the Airbnb when they bought the place, it was originally called Halfling Hideaway. She had to change the name and create a new account to run the BnB.

“I didn't have any bad intentions with that name but I guess because it's gotten really popular, they probably heard about it and I guess they don't have anything else going on but going after a small, independent business because they don't like that I used the word Hobbit.

“I just thought I'd call it the Hobbit Mountain Hideaway and then people started calling in the Hobbit Hole.”

Le Comte then took to Instagram to share her story and asked for input on a new name for their Airbnb.

“I'm pretty overwhelmed with the support of the community, suggestions and feedback that people have sent about changing the name... The hobbit house at this point is such a place now that people love it, I wanted to include the people that make it what it is.”

After receiving name suggestions from her social media post, Le Comte will be putting up a poll with options for the community to decide and will officially change the name from there.

“Instead of feeling threatened or cowing to it, I'm going to have fun with it,” she said, adding that Airbnb has been very nice and supportive so far throughout the process. “It's a beautiful thing to have a business that makes people happy.”

“I'm not going to let myself be intimidated by some big shots out of Hollywood, I'm going to continue to offer the hobbit house as a fantasy escape for anyone that wants to have a break from the real world."

Warner Brothers was not immediately available for comment.