A physical-therapy center that has used the name Boston Sports Medicine since 2001 is suing former Red Sox, Patriots and Bruins team doctor Thomas Gill, who set up a center called Boston Sports Medicine and Research Institute that also offers physical therapy after he lost the last of his pro-sports contracts in 2014.
Boston Sports Medicine filed a $100-million trademark suit against Gill in US District Court in Boston today, asking a judge to order Gill to pick some other name for his surgery-focused venture and to pay $100 million in damages for the losses and trouble it charges he's caused the physical-therapy center and its patients.
It's actually Boston Sports Medicine's second trademark suit against Gill. In 2015, a year after he left the Patriots amidst controversy over surgery performed on Rob Gronkowski and set up Boston Sports Medicine and Research Institute, Boston Sports Medicine first demanded he change the name and then, when he refused, sued.
But in 2017, the two sides reached an agreement under which Boston Sports Medicine would drop the suit in exchange for Gill, then head of orthopedic surgery at St. Elizabeth Hospital, helping to refer patients there to the therapists at Boston Sports Medicine.
In today's suit, Boston Sports Medicine charges that once the papers to end the lawsuit were filed in court, Gill stopped referring patients there, even as Gill stepped up promotion for his Boston Sports Medicine and Research Institute.
And now, the complaint alleges, it's gotten to the point where patients, insurers and even the city of Boston are completely confused.
The suit alleges Boston Sports Medicine has gotten several checks from the city of Boston for patients that were actually treated by Gill's center. Also:
Its offices have experienced a steady volume of confused patients and recently there has been an uptick in confused and angry customers. Many of these customers have used the telephone numbers listed on the respective web sites and are getting directed to the wrong entities and this has caused a great disruption to Boston Sports Medicine’s business and consumes resources, including administrative time and answering service expenses, not to mention injury to the reputation of Boston Sports Medicine.
They add as an example:
As consumer confusion continues, on or around July 22, 2021, an individual, and to Boston Sports Medicine’s knowledge a patient of Defendants, arrived to Boston Sports Medicine’s facilities for their 9:45 a.m. appointment. Boston Sports Medicine had no record of this patient and had to explain Defendants were different from Boston Sports Medicine.
The confusion continues online, where bostonsportsmed.com gets confused for Gill's bostonsportsmedicine.com and vice-versa.