Virgin Blue to re-brand domestic operations as Virgin Australia

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Virgin Blue is in the final stages to re-brand its domestic operation as Virgin Australia, following the Australian federal court siding with a claim from the Virgin Group that a Victorian company was infringing on the Virgin Australia trademark.

The lawsuit's applicant, Virgin Enterprises Limited, the Virgin Group's London-based company that owns and leases the Virgin Blue and 2,000 other "Virgin" trademarks, trademarked the Virgin Australia name in February 2010.

The court ordered the Victorian company, Virgin Australia Pty Limited, to legally change its name, which it did on 24 February, according to filings from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, the nation's corporate watchdog. Shortly thereafter Virgin Enterprises reserved the Virgin Australia name.

The court also ordered Virgin Australia to remove its telephone directory listings and remove content from its website at virginaustralia.com.au and then transfer the domain registration to Virgin Enterprises, which occurred recently, sources familiar with the situation say. They add the domain's transfer was one of the last external steps leading up to the public launch of Virgin Australia.

Virgin Blue has already taken the Virgin Australia name, stylised to resemble Virgin Atlantic's logo, and applied it internally in select circumstances, sources say.

Representatives of Virgin Enterprises were unavailable for comment. A Virgin Blue spokesman declines to comment on the lawsuit, saying: "That litigation does not involve the Virgin Blue Group. It would be inappropriate for us to make any comment."

The spokesman declines to comment on the re-branding, adding: "We have not made any public statements on the outcome of the re-branding exercise."

The Virgin Group has established holding companies including Virgin Australia Holdings Pty Limited and Virgin Australia Airlines. Virgin Blue executives were recently listed as company officeholders of both organisations, according to the ASIC.

Virgin Australia Pty Limited had sold promotional bookmarks. There was no explanation linking the company to its Virgin Australia company name, which it registered in April 2004.

Virgin Blue chief executive John Borghetti has said the re-branding, which could consist of multiple brands, would be unveiled before the end of the financial year on 30 June.

The branding of Virgin Blue's international operations is unconfirmed.