A British choose has dominated in favor of Richard Branson’s Virgin group in its lawsuit in opposition to a U.S. prepare firm over a licensing settlement
ByThe Related Press
October 12, 2023, 8:52 AM
LONDON — A British choose dominated in favor of Richard Branson’s Virgin group on Thursday in its lawsuit in opposition to a U.S. prepare firm that terminated a licensing settlement and claimed the Virgin model was not certainly one of “excessive reputation.”
Decide Mark Pelling dominated in favor of Virgin Enterprises, which had sued Florida passenger prepare operator Brightline Holdings for breaching an settlement to rebrand as Virgin Trains USA. Brightline stated it was disillusioned with the ruling and deliberate to attraction.
The lawsuit was over a deal the 2 firms struck in 2018 and Brightline pulled out of two years later. It got here shortly after the Virgin Atlantic airline filed for chapter safety within the U.S. and Virgin misplaced the U.Okay. prepare franchise it had held for twenty years.
Brightline argued that Virgin had “ceased to represent a model of worldwide excessive reputation, largely due to issues associated to the pandemic.” Virgin Atlantic fought monetary assist from the British authorities after COVID-19 grounded journey.
Virgin sued on the Excessive Courtroom in London, calling Brightline’s allegations “cynical and spurious.”
Issuing judgment after a listening to in July, Pelling stated that Brightline needed to show that persevering with to make use of the Virgin label “would trigger materials harm to Brightline’s repute or the worth of its enterprise. In my judgment it has plainly failed to take action.”
The choose stated there was “no proof” Brightline’s “standing with customers was broken by its continued affiliation with Virgin.”
The difficulty of damages might be settled at a later listening to. Virgin sought about 200 million kilos ($246 million) in damages within the case.
In response to the ruling, the corporate stated in an announcement that “the Virgin model has been a logo of world innovation, distinctive buyer expertise and entrepreneurship for greater than 50 years. As we speak’s court docket judgment demonstrates the power of our enterprise and model.”
Brightline, owned by Fortress Funding Group, started working trains between Miami and West Palm Seaside in 2018, the primary non-public intercity passenger service to start U.S. operations in a century. It began Miami-to-Orlando providers final month.