A federal judge has ordered The Inn at Brunswick Station to change its name by April 4 because of a lawsuit by The Brunswick Inn claiming name infringement.
The order Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen followed a jury verdict in December awarding The Brunswick Inn $10,000 after finding that The Inn at Brunswick Station had a name so similar that it confused customers.
“The jury’s order and this order make it clear that the ‘The Brunswick Inn’ is a legally enforceable trademark in which Plaintiff’s rights are superior to those of the Defendants,” Torresen said in her 14-page ruling.
Torreson also ordered The Inn at Brunswick Station to stop using its website, innatbrunswickstation.com, by 5 p.m. Tuesday, “but only in a manner that redirects users who enter that domain name into their web browsers to a new non-infringing website with a different, non-infringing domain name.”
Frank Gaeta, the attorney who represented the Inn at Brunswick Station, said the judge’s ruling was less restrictive than The Brunswick Inn had sought in its lawsuit but his clients were still disappointed.
“Just as we were disappointed with the jury’s verdict, we are disappointed with the Judge’s decision to uphold it,” Gaeta said in an email. “We remain of the view that no one should own the words ‘Brunswick’ and ‘inn.’ We are presently evaluating whether to appeal.”
The Brunswick Inn had sought to have all signs, labels, packages, wrappers and advertisements bearing the The Inn at Brunswick Station name destroyed or impounded within 30 days of the judgment.
James Goggin, the attorney who represented the owner of The Brunswick Inn, did not respond to a request for comment on his client’s lawsuit.
After The Inn at Brunswick Station opened in June 2011, the similarity in the names led some out-of-town visitors to make reservations at the wrong establishment or arrive at the wrong place. Vendors have made deliveries to the wrong inn. Once, the naming even confounded the Brunswick Fire Department, which responded to a fire alarm at the wrong hotel.
Both inns are within walking distance of Bowdoin College, a draw for many guests who stay at each inn. But the two have vastly different styles that appeal to different customers.
The Brunswick Inn operates in a historic 1848 Federal-style house on the town’s stately Park Row. It has been an inn since 1984, and has operated under its current name since 2007.
The Inn at Brunswick Station, at the intersection of Noble and Maine streets, is newly constructed, with 48 guest rooms and four spacious suites. It has a full-service restaurant and tavern, and an event space that can accommodate as many as 150 guests, according to its website.
Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at firstname.lastname@example.org