Virgin Files Trademark Lawsuit Against Adrants.com Over Fake Ad With Plane Crash.

SAN FRANCISCO, January 29, 2009 -- Virgin America Inc. filed suit today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Adrants.com over an unauthorized Virgin ad depicting crashed US Airways flight 1549.

In its complaint Virginia America Inc., the U.S. corporate arm of Virgin Airlines, states that it discovered a phoney Virgin Airlines advertisement published on the Adrants.com website on January 15, 2009 depicting a crashed US Airways plane under the heading "The Hudson Crash: Just One More Reason To Fly Virgin."

The posting also alleged stated: "We've seen Virgin turn ugly situations to its advantage before, making it very much in keeping with the Virgin brand persona. The only thing saving the tribute from being in terrifically bad taste is the fact that no one lost his or her life in the crash. So woot! -- slather your big reds all over those news shots, V."

Upon becoming aware of the posting, Virgin contacted the Adrants.com to inform them of the fabricated nature of the ad, in which an update was published on Adrants.com indicating the ad was bogus. Sometime after posting the update, Adrants removed the item from the site without publishing a retraction of the comments made by the article's author.

Adrants Publishing LLC owns the Adrants.com web site and describes the site in part as "marketing and advertising news with attitude in the form of a website and daily email newsletter."

Virgin's complaint also contains an allegation that the Adrants' posting explicitly authenticated the advertisement as a legitimate Virgin America ad, despite Virgins' assertion of no sponsorship or affiliation to the advertisement.

The lawsuit names the web site's editors personally as defendants in addition to Adrants Publishing LLC.

Virgin alleges that the offending ad dilutes the distinctiveness of the Virgin trademark, tarnishes the goodwill therein, and causes confusion in the marketplace in addition to a claims for false advertising and defamation.

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