BRUNSWICK, Maine — The Inn at Brunswick Station will soon become The Brunswick Hotel and Tavern after a February ruling by a federal court that the original name was too similar to that of The Brunswick Inn, which is only a few hundred yards away.
“I think it’s great. I’m delighted,” Eileen Hornor, owner of The Brunswick Inn, said Thursday morning. “Now I won’t have to get up at midnight, like I did last night, when someone tries to check in at the wrong place.”
Rick Martin, general manager at the Inn at Brunswick Station, did not return a phone call Thursday, but a receptionist at the hotel confirmed the change is underway.
The Inn at Brunswick Station is a key component of a plan to redevelop a long-dormant and environmentally contaminated downtown site that was once home to the town’s former train station.
In 2012, Hornor sued JHR Development, owners of The Inn at Brunswick Station, claiming that since the newer inn opened in June 2011, guests, and even the local fire department, had confused the two.
In December 2013, a jury awarded Hornor $10,000 after determining that The Inn at Brunswick Station’s name infringed on The Brunswick Inn’s trademark.
Two months later, U.S. District Court Justice Nancy Torresen ordered JHR Development to change the name of The Inn at Brunswick Station.
She ordered that The Inn at Brunswick Station “permanently cease” using its name no later than April 4, 2014, and that the new name not include both the words “Brunswick” and “inn.” Torresen said the inn could continue to maintain its website, innatbrunswickstation.com, for another year, “but only in a manner that automatically redirects users who enter that domain name into their Web browsers to a new noninfringing website with a different noninfringing domain name.”
In March, Torreson granted JHR an additional 30 days — until May 5 — to change the establishment’s name.
On Thursday, Hornor said she originally requested no monetary compensation for the infringement, asking only that the hotel change its name.
“But in order to have a jury trial, we had to sue for damages,” she said.
Hornor said she then sued for damages of $140,000 — the combined amount, she said, that the two establishments had spent on advertising.
“I think it’s a very nice name,” Hornor said. “Because of people’s tendency to abbreviate, now we can be ‘the inn’ and they can be ‘the hotel’ … But after 2½ years and tens of thousands of dollars [spent by] both sides, I just don’t understand why they couldn’t have done that from the beginning.”
Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of The Brunswick Inn’s owner, Eileen Hornor.