Virgin Wins $160 Million Alaska Airways Trademark Lawsuit

Virgin Group has simply gained a significant lawsuit towards Alaska Airways, although we will count on an attraction.

The fundamentals of the Virgin & Alaska Airways lawsuit

In 2018, Alaska Airways and Virgin America merged in a $2.6 billion deal. This was a part of Alaska’s effort to develop considerably on the West Coast (together with in San Francisco), whereas additionally stopping JetBlue from gaining market share within the area (for the reason that airline was additionally inquisitive about buying Virgin America).

Though Richard Branson’s Virgin model has nice identify recognition, Alaska Airways selected to take care of its personal id, and stopped utilizing the Virgin America model. That’s the place this lawsuit comes into play.

Again in 2014, Virgin Group and Virgin America entered right into a licensing settlement, whereby the airline must pay a minimal of $8 million in annual royalties to Virgin Group yearly by means of 2039, for utilizing the Virgin model.

When Alaska Airways stopped utilizing the Virgin model, the corporate believed it now not needed to pay these royalties, arguing it was “commercially nonsensical.” Not solely was the identify not getting used, however Virgin America didn’t exist anymore as an organization. As you’d count on, Richard Branson and Virgin Group had a special take, and believed that the royalties nonetheless needed to be paid even when the identify wasn’t getting used.

This has been the subject of a lawsuit that has been in courtroom for fairly a while now, although a decide has lastly dominated.

Alaska Airways has dropped the Virgin model

Why a decide dominated in favor of Virgin Group

On Thursday, Decide Christopher Hancock in London dominated in favor of Virgin Group, awarding the corporate a $160 million settlement (20 years price of royalties of a minimal of $8 million yearly).

As he wrote in his resolution, the minimal royalty was “a flat payment payable for the precise to make use of the Virgin model, whether or not or not that proper is taken up.” The decide additionally added that the settlement “should be approached from the attitude of Virgin and Virgin America and never from the attitude of Alaska.”

A spokesperson for Virgin Group has stated that Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America included “a branding settlement lasting till 2039 with clear obligations,” and the corporate is “happy the courtroom agreed with our arguments.” In the meantime a spokesperson for Alaska Airways has stated that the case is “with out benefit and we intend to attraction the choice.”

That is clearly past my space of experience. I assume what I’m shocked by is that the circumstances related to these royalties weren’t made crystal clear on the time the settlement was signed. I can recognize how Virgin Group thinks it’s owed these no matter whether or not or not the identify is used, for the reason that airline was acquired. However was Alaska Airways simply working towards wishful considering, or why didn’t the airline assume it will be on the hook for these charges?

Alaska owes Virgin Group $160 million in royalties

Backside line

A decide has dominated that Alaska Airways owes Virgin Group $160 million as a part of a trademark dispute. Virgin Group argued that it was owed a minimal of $8 million in annual royalties from the Virgin America model.

When Alaska purchased Virgin America and stopped utilizing Virgin branding, the corporate believed it now not needed to pay these royalties. Nevertheless, Virgin Group has argued (efficiently) that it was owed that minimal royalty no matter whether or not the identify was used.

What do you make of this lawsuit between Virgin Group and Alaska Airways?

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