BRUNSWICK — If you were planning to rent a room at The Brunswick Inn, might you accidentally wind up checking into The Inn at Brunswick Station?
That question is the crux of the legal battle between the two businesses.
Since September, owners of The Brunswick Inn have been trying to force JHR Development to change the name of its similarly named competitor.
In an amended complaint filed on April 20, attorney James Goggin of Portland-based Verrill Dana, wrote that, “the likelihood of continued confusion on the part of consumers resulting from (JHR’s) use of the name The Inn at Brunswick Station will irreparably harm The Brunswick Inn and will undo all of its hard work in establishing its own identity.”
To beef up its claim, The Brunswick Inn has applied for and received a trademark on the name “The Brunswick Inn” from Maine’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions.
Goggin said on Tuesday that, while the lawsuit seeks financial compensation, the main goal is not to a cash settlement.
“We’re not asking for any specific amount of damages,” he said. “Primarily, we just want to get them to change the name.”
According to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, The Brunswick Inn has spent a “substantial” amount of money promoting its name it opened in 2009.
In June 2011, the Inn at Brunswick Station opened as part of a larger development project at Brunswick Station, just a quarter of a mile from The Brunswick Inn.
“Since the opening of Defendants’ inn, Plaintiff has experienced many instances of consumer’s actual confusion between Plaintiff’s and Defendants’ inns, including guests that had registered at one inn attempting to check-in at the other,” according to the complaint. “Additionally, vendors and even emergency responders have repeatedly become confused as to which inn is which, arriving at one inn believing it to be the other.”
Last September, The Brunswick Inn demanded the Inn at Brunswick Station change its name, but was refused, according ot the lawsuit.
The defendants have until May 4 to file a response to the amended complaint, and Goggin said he expects the case to be resolved within seven or eight months.