2014-01-09 / Front Page

After court fight, inns still battling over names

Inn at Brunswick Station wants Dec. 20 verdict overturned
By JT LEONARD Times Record Staff

BRUNSWICK

Nineteen days after a federal jury issued its verdict favoring The Brunswick Inn in a naming dispute with The Inn at Brunswick Station, attorneys for both sides have filed several new competing motions in U.S. District Court, jockeying for position in case the verdict is overturned on appeal.

Boston attorney Frank Gaeta — who represents JHR Development LLC, which owns The Inn at Brunswick Station — filed a motion Wednesday asking U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Torreson to reconsider and overturn the jury’s Dec. 20 verdict against his client.

“We’re arguing that the plaintiff did not meet its burden of proof,” Gaeta said. “Essentially, we’re arguing that the jury got it wrong, and we’re asking the judge to make her own ruling.”

Jurors unanimously ruled Dec. 20 that JHR Development LLC had infringed upon the trademark established by the smaller, older Brunswick Inn, which stands on Park Row. The verdict included $10,000 in monetary damages and specified that The Inn at Brunswick Station, at Noble and Maine streets, must change its name.

Attorney Jim Goggin of Portland law firm Verrill-Dana, representing Brunswick Inn owners Eileen and James Hornor, filed a post-trial brief on Wednesday that asks Torreson to award the Hornors exclusive use of the name.

Goggin also filed a proposed judgment that The Inn at Brunswick Station be prohibited from using its current name or any combination of the words “Brunswick” or “inn” in its redesigned label.

The proposal would force The Inn at Brunswick Station to change signage in front of its building within 30 days and destroy all advertising and marketing literature including wrappers, labels “and all ancillary goods” bearing its name.

In opposition to the Hornors’ demands, Gaeta filed the motion for reconsideration.

In an additional effort to hedge JHR Development’s losses should Torreson deny the motion to reconsider, Gaeta’s brief asks for additional time to make the changes required in the Dec. 20 verdict.

The judgment amounts to “a lot more than changing a sign” and “would involve a significant amount of time and expense,” he said, because the establishment would have to redesign and replace all of its marketing and promotional literature, menus, stationery and employees’ uniforms, as well as recall all of the advertising it does with travel agents, trip advisors and booking agencies.

“We dispute the jury’s finding of trademark infringement, but we also dispute (the proposal) to bar us from using ‘Brunswick’ or ‘inn’ in whatever a new name would end up being,” Gaeta said. “We think it’s inappropriate and grossly overreaching.”

Goggin was out of town Thursday and efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.

The sides have until the end of January to reply to the opposing motions.

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