David loses Virgin to Goliath

In TM 167186, a small-scale candle manufacturer tried to register his product under the name Virgin Candles.

Why someone would chose the name virgin for something so obviously phallic? Well the candles are made from olive oil, and ‘virgin’ and ‘extra virgin’ are popular adjectives for describing the purity of olive oils.

Anyway,  Richard Branson’s Virgin Enterprises, whose product lines include everything from music to air-tickets (but not condoms, which Branson rather sensibly decided to market under the name Mates, and not Virgin), was not impressed.

Given the large range of Virgin products and their international distribution, the Israel Patent and Trademark Office accepted the likelihood of confusion and rejected the application.  

Categories: famous marks, Intellectual Property, IPO, Israel, Israel IP, Israel Patent Office, Israel Patent Office Rulings, Israel Trademark

7 replies

  1. Hi,

    Our company won an IP case against Virgin Enterprise a while ago.
    To read extract of the case follow the below link.
    We are looking for investors to help us achieve maximum gain.

    B Moses



    • One of your websites relates to Olive Oil where the term virgin is generic.

      In the other, you apparently intend to market condoms under the name virgin. That is probably a bad marketing position, and I note that Sir Richard Branson appears to have disclaimed this area from the Virgin empire by marketing condoms as Mates – a better choice.

      • Thank you for your reply.
        How is MATES a better choice than Virgin Condoms? Every condom in its foil is Virgin.
        Was he successful in the medical device world??…the answer is no, he closed up shop.
        Virgin Enterprise in no longer in the Condom business.

        Thank you for your communication.

      • The term virgin refers to females that have not had their hymen damaged by vaginal penetration.

        By transference, in modern English, the sexually inexperienced of both sexes are often referred to as virgins.

        Other uses such as virgin territory are metaphors that are removed from the context. One assumes that the prophylactics supplied by other manufacturers are also sold as unused, and non-returnable after use. Mating is a generic term for sexual intercourse. A mate is also used as a term for a friend.
        I think the entamology of the two words goes along way to explain why Branson did not call his birth control devices Virgins. As you intend calling yours by this name, I accept that there is no 100% agreement on the suitability of the name, but I tend to side with Branson on this one.

  2. I represented myself against Virgin Enterprise. I fired my solicitors and lawyers. Hence from your above defenition of Virgin thank god
    I fired my legal representation.I also won the case using the word Virgin and international just 2 words unlike 10 words.
    The word Virgin must not always be taken into a sexual context.The word Virgin has more meanings than any other word in the English language.

    A Virgin Condom to me means that the seal is still on the condom. Unopened,untouched,pure.Also for your information if you do want to take it into a sexual context the lubrication which will be used on the condoms is an organic byproduct which will tighten the walls of the female Vagina.

    You are missing the point that Sir Richard Branson wants to own the word VIRGIN. He believes he created the word Virgin.
    Do you realise how many businesses he has destroyed mums and dads simply because his Enterprise believes no one has the right to use the word VIRGIN.
    Its not about taking sides.
    The IP VIRGIN is not like the word PEPSI,NIKE,REEBOK. He did not create the word but was given to him by a simple girl who worked in his office at that time and she got it from the English language.

    1. a person, esp a woman, who has never had sexual intercourse
    2. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) an unmarried woman who has taken a religious vow of chastity in order to dedicate herself totally to God
    3. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Zoology) any female animal that has never mated
    4. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Zoology) a female insect that produces offspring by parthenogenesis
    5. a person who is new to or inexperienced in a specified field a political virgin
    adj (usually prenominal)
    1. of, relating to, resembling, suitable for, or characteristic of a virgin or virgins; chaste
    2. pure and natural, uncorrupted, unsullied, or untouched virgin purity
    3. not yet cultivated, explored, exploited, etc., by man virgin territories
    4. being the first or happening for the first time

    5. (Chemistry / Elements & Compounds) (of vegetable oils) obtained directly by the first pressing of fruits, leaves, or seeds of plants without applying heat
    6. (Engineering / Metallurgy) (of a metal) made from an ore rather than from scrap
    7. occurring naturally in a pure and uncombined form virgin silver
    8. (Physics / Atomic Physics) Physics (of a neutron) not having experienced a collision


    (Astronomy) the. the constellation Virgo, the sixth sign of the zodiac


  1. The UK Intellectual Property Office issues a Virgin trademark ruling that contrasts the Israel Approach « The IP Factor

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