LOS ANGELES (CN) - An electronic cigarette-maker sued Virgin Enterprises, claiming the English airline does not have rights to the word "Virgin" locked up.
Jai Mundi LLC dba Virgin Vapor sued Virgin Enterprises in Federal Court.
It claims the British company sent it a letter demanding that it stop using the word "Virgin" for its e-cigarettes.
Jai Mundi makes e-cigarettes that deliver nicotine to smokers, without tobacco. It says it chose the word virgin for its connotations of "pure, unsullied, undefiled."
Jai Mundi says it never registered the Virgin Vapor trademark but plans to do so, under a trademark class dedicated to smoking and tobacco products.
Virgin Enterprises has registered dozens of trademarks for its logo and travel, music and electronics lines.
Sir Richard Branson's company - at last count worth $24 billion - withdrew a claim to use the Virgin mark for tobacco or smokers' products nearly 19 years ago, Jai Mundi says. But that didn't stop Virgin from demanding that Jai Mundi stop selling e-cigarettes under the Virgin Vapor brand.
After more than a year of discussions, Virgin Enterprises "has not identified any instance of actual confusion" Jai Mundi claims. Nor has Virgin expressed an interest in marketing its own brand of e-cigarettes, according to the complaint.
Virgin Enterprises "has made clear that it is unwilling to accept any resolution that did not result in plaintiff ceasing all use of the Vapor mark," the lawsuit states.
Jai Mundi seeks a declaration that it is not infringing on the other Virgin's trademarks.
It is represented by Michael Baum, with Resch Polster & Berger.
Virgin Enterprises did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
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