Judge: Inn at Brunswick Station must change name
BRUNSWICK — The Inn at Brunswick Station must change its name by April 4, a federal judge ruled Tuesday in the climax of a trademark dispute initiated by a competing inn more than two years ago.
The order by U.S. District Court Justice Nancy Torresen followed a jury decision last December that awarded plaintiff The Brunswick Inn $10,000 in damages after finding The Inn at Brunswick Station infringed on the plaintiff's trademark.
The Inn at Brunswick Station was also ordered on Tuesday to begin redirecting traffic from its "innatbrunswickstation.com" website to a new domain name with content that doesn't infringe on The Brunswick Inn's trademark.
Frank Gaeta, a Boston-based attorney who represents the owners of The Inn at Brunswick Station, said he and his clients are disappointed by the jury verdict and the judge's decision to uphold it.
"We remain of the view that no one should own the words 'Brunswick' and 'inn,' he said in an email. "We are presently evaluating whether to appeal."
However, Gaeta noted, the "injunction is significantly less restrictive that what the plaintiff requested."
For instance, the plaintiff had requested that the defendants be ordered to deliver any "ancillary goods, signs, labels, packages, wrappers and advertisements" bearing The Inn at Brunswick Station's name to be impounded or destroyed.
But that was not ordered by the judge.
Gaeta also noted that Torrensen ordered The Inn at Brunswick Station to stop using a name that includes the words "Brunswick" and "inn," which is slightly different than the plaintiff's request that the judge prohibit use of a similar name that includes either word.
The Brunswick Inn, owned by Eileen Horner since 2009, began using its name in 2007. It has operated as an inn on Park Row since 1984. The Inn at Brunswick Station was opened in 2011 by JHR Development at the corner of Noble and Maine streets.
Horner launched the lawsuit against JHR Development in September 2011, claiming the similarly named inn was creating enough consumer confusion to warrant a name change.
But Horner didn't make any progress until she filed an amended complaint in April 2012, after The Brunswick Inn received a trademark for its name from Maine's Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions.
James Goggin, a Portland-based attorney representing The Brunswick Inn, was not available for comment on Wednesday.