With summer around the corner, it is only natural that our thoughts and attention start to shift to the shore. If you are from Mid-Atlantic, you are likely familiar with Seacrets (http://seacrets.com/), one of Ocean City, Maryland’s premiere entertainment destinations. Seacrets, which has nicknamed itself “Jamaica, USA”, started in 1988 as a single cabana type bar and has exploded over the last couple of decades into a huge entertainment complex, complete with 18 separate bars, six stages, a hotel, a private beach, and its own radio station!
During this explosive growth, Seacrets obtained a trademark registration for its name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Seacrets did so with the thought that it might expand out of Ocean City and establish franchises throughout the United States and, possibly, in Mexico and the Caribbean. Seacrets was sued for trademark infringement by the Coryn Group, which operates a chain of luxury resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean called “Secrets”. Seacrets countersued for trademark infringement and unfair competition.
The Baltimore Sun’s reported yesterday that, following an 8 day jury trial in the federal district court located in Baltimore, the jury returned a verdict for Ocean City’s Seacrets and awarded it $1 in compensatory damages, $265,000 in punitive damages and, most importantly, a permanent injunction that the Coryn Group could not use the trademark “Secrets” in the United States. Recently, to avoid a re-trial on the punitive damages aspect of the verdict, Seacrets agreed to reduce the damages award to $50,000, but retained the permanent injunction against the Coryn Group.
With this recent victory, Seacrets expansion is even more likely. So, if you are not from the Mid-Atlantic area, watch out — a Seacrets may be coming soon to an area near you!