Jury awards $10K damages in Brunswick ‘Inn’ name lawsuit

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BRUNSWICK — A jury on Dec. 18 awarded The Brunswick Inn owner Eileen Horner $10,000 after determining that the Inn at Brunswick Station’s name infringed on her trademark.

Whether The Inn at Brunswick Station must change its name will be determined by U.S. District Court Justice Nancy Torresen in January.

Horner sued The Inn at Brunswick Station last year, claiming that since it opened in June 2011, guests have confused The Inn at Brunswick Station with the Brunswick Inn, costing her reservations and money.

Following a trial that began Dec. 16, a jury said The Brunswick Inn had “acquired distinctiveness” before the Inn at Brunswick Station began using that name. However, the jury determined that J. HIlary Rockett, owner of the Inn at Brunswick Station, did not willfully infringe on the Brunswick Inn’s trademark.

Horner sued for damages exceeding $143,000, but the jury awarded $10,000, according to court documents.

An inn has operated at the Park Street location of the Brunswick Inn since 1984, and since 2007 the name has contained the words The Brunswick Inn, according to a trial brief filed by Horner’s attorney, James Goggin of Verrill Dana in Portland. Horner purchased the 14-room inn in 2009.

In June 2011, JHR Development, owned by J. Hilary Rockett of Marblehead, Mass., and the developer of the adjacent Brunswick Station shops and train station, opened the 52-room Inn at Brunswick Station at the corner of Noble and Maine streets.

Throughout years of planning for Maine Street Station, Rockett had referred to the development as Maine Street Station, and to the inn as The Inn at Maine Street Station, but those names changed when the inn and the train station opened.

Among exhibits presented by Horner’s attorney was a Brunswick Fire Department incident report from July 27, 2011, detailing a response to a cooking fire at the Inn at Brunswick Station. Due to an error, firefighters first mistakenly responded to the Brunswick Inn.

According to court documents, both attorneys must file briefs by Dec. 31 before the judge decides whether the Inn at Brunswick Station must change its name.