The world of trademarks and patents is, at times, a bewildering one. Without question, the idea of offering the ownership of your creative, technical, intellectual or just general genius is one with a soft, warm center, existing to ensure the protection and, ultimately, profitability of said genius.
Like all things, once it becomes available to the wider human race, it becomes a distorted, egocentrically driven version of itself, used and abused in the most ludicrous ways imaginable. Of course, there is the run of the mill daily grind of the thing, where it generally functions in the manner in which it was intended, and that is fabulous news for anybody able, willing or, as is usually the case, both able and willing, to think outside of the box and create something with the potential to improve upon an older version of a particular product or system. Sometimes those goals can even be raised to the heights of actually improving something for mankind in general. It is not an everyday occurrence, but it does happen!
But how about some truly insane stuff? How about somebody obtaining the patent for how to swing on a swing? Indeed, in 2002 the USPTO granted a patent application for just this. Maybe Apple’s successful application to patent a glass staircase? Seriously? So, a patent for a staircase of empty PET bottles could actually be a thing? The materials used to make one of the most ubiquitous items in any building with more than one floor can make that a patentable invention? Oh dear…We seem to have gone over to the dark side!
Now, let’s talk about the Virgin Group https://www.virgin.com/? Within legal circles, their ferocity in “protecting their brand” is legendary. They rarely, if ever, miss a chance to link their brand with somebody else’s, no matter how tenuous that link may be – Extra Virgin Olive Oil? Virgin Valley Cabs? Los Virgenes (a non-profit educational foundation, made up entirely of VOLUNTEER PARENTS! VIRGINIC https://virginic.com/, a cosmetics company out of Sheridan, Wyoming?
Well, VIRGINIC fans, buyers and supporters, the driving force behind VIRGINIC still standing despite being bullied for past 2 months by Richard’s Branson legion of lawyers – believers in genuinely organic and genuinely trash-free cosmetics – all agree that, this time, The Virgin Group have gone too far.
“Having received the trademark for “VIRGINIC”, we were all stunned to find that, The Virgin Group were able to contest the trademark, even after VIRGINIC has been awarded it. VIRGINIC needs to basically “lawyer up” fast. It’s definitely a David against Goliath” – said one one the long term VIRGINIC products buyers and supporters that we interviewed.
The UK judge ordered Virgin to pay VIRGINIC £300 in costs. VIRGINIC never received it.
There was an appeals process, VIRGINIC argued pretty much the same case, and, not surprisingly for the common sense spectators, won again.
End of the game, VIRGINIC could go back to producing in peace their mission-driven, allergy-free cosmetics for vegans, something that The Virgin Group does NOT sell.
Virgin’s lawyers, blood hungry, contested AGAIN. This time to the High Court of Appeals. In an outrageous and controversial decision, the judge overruled the two previous rulings, accepting the claim by Virgin’s legal team that the people of the UK cannot be trusted to say “VIRGINIC” when referring to the product as they speak lazily and would almost certainly say Virgin Enterprises instead, or at least sound as though they had. That’s weak, to say the very least. OR maybe the UK is not the home of the Queen’s English anymore?!
Not only that, but the judge also awarded Virgin £35,000 in costs – it appears that sending half a dozen lawyers to do the job of one has perks on the bottom line – and demanded that it be paid…
…THE FOLLOWING DAY!
“Well, I hope VIRGINIC still intends to fight and won’t give in also to set an example to other small companies harassed by big corporations, especially when the bullies come to town like Virgin do.” – concluded one of the buyer and supporter interviewed.