Company announces $1m in bookings to date in 2021; new customers include WatchMojo, Serhant, ASG.
Boston, MA – USA | September 27, 2021 — Video management software vendor Axle.ai is in the home stretch of its 2nd successful equity crowdfund on Republic.co, which ends at midnight PDT today. Axle.ai’s previous equity crowdfunding round, in 2020, was oversubscribed, and this campaign has raised $283,000 (over 11x the original goal of $25,000) of a possible $428,000. The campaign page is at https://republic.co/axle-ai; a 3-minute pitch video featuring Axle.ai’s management can be viewed at tinyurl.com/axlein3mins. Investors can commit as little as $150 to participate in the campaign.
Today, Axle.ai announced it had received over $1m in orders to date in 2021, up from its 2020 tally of $667k and positioning the company to deliver its targeted $1.2-1.3m in revenue for the year. Recent orders include YouTube leaders WatchMojo and Million Dollar Listing star Ryan Serhant’s media team. The company has also been notified that ASG LLC, a leading systems integrator for the media industry, will be launching solutions featuring Axle.ai’s software in Q4.
There is a worldwide explosion of video content. IDC estimates that global data will accelerate exponentially to 175 zettabytes by 2025. A growing, double-digit percentage of this storage is used to house media files. Meanwhile, approximately 400,000 video teams worldwide are responsible for capturing, editing, and managing this content; more than 2/3 of it isn’t readily searchable or available for access after initial use. Axle.ai has more than 700 customers worldwide, including high-profile names such as the NY Yankees, Madison Square Garden, the LA Clippers, PWC, Elevation Church, WB and Paramount. A recent profile of reality-TV production house Pie Town can be viewed at youtu.be/H1xkcQ0YJO8.
Sam Bogoch, CEO of axle ai, said “For years, creative teams have needed a simplified and cost-efficient way to remotely search and manage their content. Our second successful Republic equity crowdfunding raise is helping us deliver these solutions more widely – we encourage everyone to visit republic.co/axle-ai today.”
• Last month, Axle.ai announced it had completed acquisition of Noscos, an AI/ML startup focusing on face recognition and logo recognition applications.
• Another big win for Axle.ai during the crowdfund was securing its largest deal ever – a $365,000 deployment at a major Asia-Pacific region broadcaster.
• In July, Seagate and Axle.ai announced a strategic partnership around Seagate’s Lyve and LaCie solutions. The companies have begun joint sales activities and have deployed the first combined system to Togethxr.com, a women’s sports media company backed by Alex Morgan and Sue Bird.
Press & Media Contact:
axle ai, Inc.
LOS ANGELES, CA, 2021-Sep-21 — /REAL TIME PRESS RELEASE/ — JunBugg Fitness Social Network, Wall Street’s “first and only luxury social media brand,” created by African American founder Louis Green, today announced the launch of its NextGen fitness website. Using computer algorithms, JunBugg integrate entertainment into health by sharing unique fitness solutions related to one’s body-type, that leads to better fitness results in least time — influencing success for a higher quality of life.
The start-up website boasts a sleek interface, vibrant logo, sophisticated font-type, and beautiful images, built on sophisticated software engineering. Through social engagement, members of similar health conditions and body-types share fitness strategies and medical solutions to get fit. JunBugg use algorithms that recommend relevant solutions to newsfeeds, the same technology that has allowed — TikTok, Netflix, and Amazon to be successful. The NextGen Search Database deliver relevant fitness matches for personalized training.
A personalized fitness solution, members engage, collaborate, and work as a team. Teamwork allows members to foster camaraderie, innovate, and better problem solve fitness and health obstacles. The bigger the network grows, the more cures that are created. Algorithms see patterns of successful fitness solutions, learns the most effective ones, and recommend them to newsfeeds. As solutions evolve and improve, the algorithm learns and thus recommend those.
The African American community was hit hard by COVID19, who stand to gain the most from JunBugg, for a higher quality of life. The platform is easily accessible and allows equal quality of health care while being affordable. The management of health conditions is the biggest benefit, and prevention of disease as opposed to disease treatment, by being fit through exercise and eating healthy. See boutique fitness solutions — https://www.junbugg.net
Unlike traditional social media services — TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, whose services are free, JunBugg’s boutique membership offerings range between $30 and $500 a month. Fees are comparable to other boutique studios and fitness services, such as — Equinox, SoulCycle, Peloton, and YogaWorks.
It’s all about fitness wealth and a higher quality of life. The first of its kind, JunBugg will forever change fitness and healthcare,” said Louis. “People are an amazing resource that’s never been used in this way — through the power of social media technology, to solve problems through entertainment.”
Los Angeles, Ca 90034 www.junbugg.net
OTTAWA, Canada, 2021-Sep-16 — /REAL TIME PRESS RELEASE/ — Awards are given at the international, national and local levels.
I am pleased to receive these recognitions because of their emphasis on innovation to create progressive social change.” — CMM Founder Firdaus Kharas
Chocolate Moose Media (CMM) has been named:
Most Innovative Animated Shorts Production Company 2021
Most Outstanding Innovative Short Film Producer – Canada
Top Social Startups and Companies in Ottawa (2021)
The naming by The Global 100 Awards, Corporate Vision Magazine, and Best Startup Ca respectively all cited innovation and societal impact in their criteria. The three awards add to the 115 other awards CMM and its founder have received.
Founded in Ottawa, Canada in 1995, Chocolate Moose Media (CMM) is the world’s leading producer of animated behaviour-change communications aimed at alleviating health, human rights and social issues around the world. Led by renowned social innovator, director and humanitarian Firdaus Kharas, CMM produces animation, documentaries, videos and television series designed to educate, entertain and change societal and individual behaviour in order to better the human condition. More than 3,600 animated videos in 245 language versions are available online without charge in a Vimeo channel.
Sacramento, California, USA, 2021-Jun-16 — /REAL TIME PRESS RELEASE/ — Louis Marinelli, an American political activist, and California governor candidate, released a short film exploring the issue of Vrbetice explosions in the light of the first Biden – Putin meeting.
The film was made in collaboration with Adam Kokesh, a libertarian activist who ran for USA presidency in 2020, and was aimed to present a perspective that is not widespread in the media today and discuss an alternative vision of the explosions in the Czech Republic, sanctions against Russia and the current state of international relations prior to Putin – Biden meeting.
In 2014, a series of explosions destroyed an arms depot in the Czech Republic, causing two deaths. At the time, Czech authorities blamed the explosions on human error. But now, in the months leading up to the Biden-Putin meeting set for Geneva, the explosions have resurfaced as a topic of international concern – except now NATO allies and EU members are blaming Russia – and placing sanctions on Russia as a result, even though they lack any direct evidence of Russian involvement.
Louis Marinelli unravels the story and presents an alternative theory – is Europe’s renewed interest in the 2014 explosions in Vrbetice really just a pretext to place sanctions on Russia and tarnish Russia’s reputation before Putin’s meeting with Biden? Or maybe the explosions are simply the result of a rivalry between two arms dealers – Emelian Gebrev, and Boyko Borissov, who, until recently, was also the Prime Minister of Bulgaria?
Louis J. Marinelli (born March 28, 1986) is an American political activist of the California independence movement organized under the Yes California Independence Campaign, an umbrella organization representing the coalition of parties and organizations supporting the proposed California independence referendum. Marinelli is the former president of Yes California and the former interim chairman of the California National Party, under which he also ran for California State Assembly in California’s 80th State Assembly district representing south San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, San Ysidro, and the surrounding communities.
Adam Charles Kokesh (born February 1, 1982) is an American libertarian political activist, radio host, and author. Kokesh was a U.S. 2020 Libertarian presidential candidate running on the single-issue platform of an “orderly dissolution of the federal government.”
Kokesh is a former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant, serving in the Iraq War in 2004. Upon his return from Iraq, he became an anti-war activist and an advocate for Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Louis J. Marinelli
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 2021-Apr-17 — /REAL TIME PRESS RELEASE/ — As a high-tech company ITFX GROUP INC has an algorithm system and advanced IT infrastructure providing large-scale development and various services. With the development prospects of the foreign exchange industry becoming more and more favored by investors, the company launched the ITGFX development strategy plan began to move towards internationalization and now has an international foreign exchange business.
Our team of experienced programmers has developed a lot of software for the foreign exchange market, CFD and cryptocurrency market. The solution developed exclusively by our experts is combined with the current largest liquidity provider (quotation). It is designed for arbitrage trading and provides a complete solution for arbitrage of products such as foreign exchange, CFDs and cryptocurrencies, allowing you to easily obtain Profit.
ITFX GROUP INC is one of the few financial technology companies that directly connect to exchange data. Therefore, our customers can get the fastest, most reliable and most accurate quotation. In addition to its own use, the solution has also become a trusted arbitrage trading tool for many large institutional traders. ITGFX’s high-quality, reliable and outstanding customer service has created a good reputation. Due to our persistence in technology excellence, we are currently the most trustworthy foreign exchange company.
ITGFX technical support includes commercial and non-profit organizations and customer groups all over the world. The persistent pursuit and attention to quality has allowed the company to achieve more than 15 years of continuous profitability, which is rare in this highly competitive industry. Relying on the professional background of the investment research team, unique and objective value concepts, and a mature and complete research system, a number of well-known overseas funds have been launched to assist high-net-worth clients to obtain stable returns, avoid the risk of RMB depreciation, and achieve global asset allocation.
In order to comply with the strong market demand and development, in Southeast Asia, Malaysia set up an ITGFX operation center to serve the Southeast Asian market and operate the foreign exchange business. To fully expand the global market, ITGFX welcomes you to join us. We are committed to serving every high-quality partner and creating an industry benchmark.
NOW! ITFX GROUP launched the ITGFX development strategy plan and entered the Asian market.
Using an Animated Avatar of Himself, Digital Media Professional, Bill Johnston, Co-founder of the Popular TheCGBros YouTube Channel, Earns Praise for His Performance in a Video Podcast Preview Provided to a Special Panel of Members of the Voice Acting Academy.
SAN DIEGO, CA, 2021-Jan-06 — /REAL TIME PRESS RELEASE/ — TheCGBros, a Third-party aggregation YouTube Channel becoming an integral part of many short films’ release strategies, conducted a highly successful beta test of the first episode of their now-in-production podcast series, TheCGBros CGInsider Podcast. Bill Johnston, co-founder of TheCGBros YouTube Channel with his brother, Shaun Johnston, delivered the program content solo, in “talking head” format, but future episodes will see participation from Shaun and from influential guests, as well. Of special interest is that, although Bill spoke as himself, he did it through the novel medium of an animated avatar, possibly a first in the industry. The avatar was designed and executed by co-founder, Shaun Johnston.
The program content is intended for consumption by people with a wide variety of tastes and interests, especially fans of short videos. The subject matter will also be of general interest to students of CGI as well as both entry-level and professionals in the field. The premiere episode in the podcast series was released to the public on TheCGBros YouTube Channel at Midnight January 5, 2021. The series will be rolled out on other streaming platforms weekly on Tuesdays.
The test episode, which runs approximately 20 minutes long, is entitled “What is CGI?” Podcast titles scheduled for the remainder of January include: “Can You Describe the Different Jobs That Relate toCreating a CGI Film,” “Are There Examples of Current CGI in Films That Are So Well Done ThatThey are Undetectable?” and “How Can I Get a Job in Gaming?”
The venue used for the test was an online weekly meeting of the Voice Acting Academy’s “Conductors Club” (VAACC.) The VAACC is a membership support service open to voiceover talent at all levels of experience for the purpose of helping them to advance their voiceover career and to help them get more work. Membership in the VAACC includes weekly live coaching sessions directed by Voiceover Guru, James Alburger, who says that the monthly cost of membership is a lot less than the usual cost of a single hour of private coaching. ConductorsClub sessions are conducted using Zoom, a cloud-based peer-to-peer software platform app that allows virtual video and audio conferencing, webinars, live chats, screen-sharing, and other collaborative capabilities. Information on VAACC is available at https://voiceacting.com/conductorsclub.
The test involved a three-member panel of long-time members of the VAACC. Participating in the test were James Alburger, Tom Daniels, and George Asteri. Senior member of the panel, James Alburger, of San Diego, author of the book commonly used as a required text in college-level voiceover classes, “The Art of Voice Acting,” now in its 6th edition, asserted, “That’s really nice. Very interesting, very thorough, very effective.” Alburger is an 11-Time Emmy® Winner for Sound Design, and owner of The Voice Acting Academy and CIGMA Media. He is also an Engineer, Voice Acting Coach, and Executive Producer/Director for Film, Video, and other media. Alburger operates the websites VoiceActing.com and at cigmamedia.com. Panelist Tom Daniels averred, “That was awesome. Very informative and entertaining. It held my attention all the way through. What surprised me most was that the first use of computer generated imagery dates all the way back to 1958 in the Alfred Hitchcock film, Vertigo.” Daniels is an Emmy®-winning Voice Actor/Executive Producer who lives in Massillon, Ohio. You can listen to Tom’s sound demos here TomDanielsVoiceDemos and reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The third member of the panel, George Asteri, opined, “That was an excellent summary and gave a really good understanding of CGI. It really informed me.” Asteri, who lives in Saginaw, Michigan, has been acting for his entire life. As a Shakespearean trained actor, Asteri has performed on stage with such notable stars as Christopher Walken in Richard II, and Nicholas Pennell in Richard III. He has also played leading roles in many stage plays, including Shakespeare’s Hamlet. As a voice actor, Asteri has voiced national, local and cable commercials, shared his narration talent with a large Michigan school district film production, narrated for audiobooks, and has made several recordings for Internet clients. Asteri operates a website at https://www.GeorgeAsteri.com where he has provided his email address and telephone number.
Bill, when asked to describe his company’s vision for entering the wildly-expanding, somewhat chaotic podcast marketplace responded, “Well, we believe that mounting up a podcast series not only continues, but builds on our long-standing mission, which from Day-One has been to curate the highest quality professional-level CG content from around the world, as well as to provide insights and inspiration to our two main constituencies: the producers of video content and the consumers of that content. Simply stated, we help the second group — the consumers — by providing them with high quality video content, and we help the first group — the producers of video content — or as we call them,‘New Media Producers,’ by providing them access to a ‘destination site’ where members of the second group can come and discover their works. And by destination, we mean, specifically, a proven, well-established place, with a great reputation for streaming quality videos, where people who love our content know they can come to see outstanding videos that were created with the ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ suffering (not to mention loss-of-sleep) of artists with great talent but with little-to-no prospects to obtain timely significant Media Reach on their own. The proof is in the pudding — as we speak, we have more than 3.5 Million subscribers to our channel; that number is increasing by approximately 40,000 per month, and we are averaging more than 20 million views per month. And, we’ve aggregated almost 1.25 Billion views since we launched our channel. These statistics don’t tell the whole story, of course, but they put us, according to SocialBlade, the social media statistics website that tracks and measures growth, near the top 4,000 in YouTube subscriber ranking and near the top 3,000 in YouTube video view ranking.”
Responding to a further question, “How, specifically, will your podcast series contribute to the accomplishment of your mission,” Johnston explained, “As a forward-looking company in the entertainment business, we’re always on the alert to detect changes that are happening in the entertainment marketplace. What we’ve seen is a growing trend that people want more engagement with great Internet sites that they have gotten to know and have grown to love. Given the rapid increase in the number of podcasts available in the marketplace, we figured a podcast would be a great way, not only to meet our fans’ desires for a higher level of engagement with us, it would also be a great way for us to enhance the value we can add to providing curated videos to our viewers. We are also creating the company infrastructure necessary to support a fan club. We think that will provide even more of the engagement
that fans want.”
Bill Johnston is an established Digital Media Professional with 22 years of experience, the last 18 years within the console-gaming industry. There, he has been involved in Creative Direction/Supervision, Project/Team Management, Dynamic Simulations, and Fluid Dynamics involving Rigid Bodies and Soft Bodies, Particles, and Sprites. He has also managed the production of cinematic FX animation for industry leaders such as Activision/Blizzard, Sony Computer Entertainment of America, and Bungie. He has specialized in in-depth work in the areas of Pre-Visualization, Pre-Rendered FX/Cinematic Cut-Scenes, Promotional Projects and Real-Time Future-Gen FX for Game Environments. Johnston has worked on more than 45 AAA game titles played on personal computers, as well as on Sony’s Playstation, and Microsoft’s Xbox consoles. The titles include, among others, game series such as the CALL OF DUTY,DESTINY, RESISTANCE, UNCHARTED 2, LAIR, WARHAWK, GOD OF WAR, and SOCOM 3. He is currently working on another high-profile game franchise creating FUTURE-GEN FX for next-gen Platforms.
Shaun Johnston is a professional CGI artist and animator in the video games industry with over 27 years of experience, with a broad background in creating 3D animation including previsualization, VFX, and cinematic sequences for PC and Console game trailers, and in-game Cut-Scenes. Today, he is a full-time 3D Animator. He has worked for several industry-leading video game companies including Sony Computer Entertainment America, Gearbox Software, Sony Online Entertainment, Daybreak Game Company. Shaun has also worked on numerous game titles including the billion-dollar Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) franchise EVERQUEST, the Guinness World Record-holding FPSPLANETSIDE 2, and one of first successful battle royale games, H1Z1.
About TheCGBros (Johnston Media Group, Inc.)
TheCGBros was founded as an informal partnership on August 20, 2011 by brothers Shaun Johnston and William Johnston. When the founders decided to operate the business in the form of a corporation, the assets of the “partnership” were absorbed by the new company, including all existing logos and other branding marks. Their company, Johnston Media Group, Inc., a California Domestic Corporation, came into being on August 12, 2014. The company’s corporate filing status is listed as Active and its File Number is C3701917. The company’s mailing addressis 2127 Olympic Parkway, Suite 1006,Chula Vista, CA 91915.
The mission of the company is “to curate the highest quality professional CG content from around the world, as well as to provide insights and inspiration to our two main constituencies: the producers of video content and the consumers of video content.” Simply stated, “we help consumers of video content by providing them with high quality video content and we help the producers of video content by providing them access to an audience at a ‘destination site’ where the public can discover their works, thus giving the New Media Producers timely, wide, and deep, Media Reach. The company’s website can be reached at thecgbros.com; and their YouTube Channel at youtube.com/TheCGBros.
KUWAIT, Kuwait, 2020-Nov-06 — /REAL TIME PRESS RELEASE/ — After going through a personal experience when my father passed away, I felt the need for a way to express my feelings where ever I be.
I decided to invest in the development of a dedicated app to honoring and remember loved ones. The development continued for three years and produced an unprecedented app with outstanding features.
I named it Shrine. It is a free and easy to install. With Shrine you can express your feelings privately or publicly. You can send daily blessings to the deceased soul, It provides many options and features, you’ll discover yourself.
Westborough, MA, 2020-Jul-30 — /REAL TIME PRESS RELEASE/ — Virgin has targeted to attack over 300 small companies & non-profit charities. Common sense says that the word ‘virgin’ cannot be owned by one individual or organization but Virgin has deep pockets to destroy those who dare to fight for their rights.
“Opposing trademark registrations in unrelated fields is the classic behavior of a trademark bully,” says Mike Atkins, an attorney at Atkins Intellectual Property who teaches trademark law at the University of Washington, School of Law.
That’s why it came as a surprise that Branson decided to send a threatening cease-and-desist letter (where he tells the small start up to either commit a business suicide right away or else Virgin lawyers will destroy it within 30 days) to I Am Not A Virgin, a small eco-friendly denim label, claiming that the company’s name infringes on his copyright, as the Telegraph’s Laura Hubbert reported on the case.
Richard Branson’s lawyers demanded environmentally friendly start up jeans label ‘I Am Not A Virgin’ to cancel their trademark (a trademark they have been lawfully granted and owned for almost 4 years before they received the threat letter from Branson – reports Ms. HUBBERT in her article.
“I guess I could rename my jeans Not Made By Richard Branson” – comments sarcastically the founder of the brand. Branson also demanded the small business owner cease to sell current stock of the jeans and removes them from the stores which for a small business is a financial suicide and a loss of all start up investment costs essentially leading to the end of a business.
“Common sense says that the word ‘virgin’ cannot be owned by one individual or organization. In other words, it’s stupid to claim a colour of your own, let say a word. Branson, who’s also well known for his support of environmental causes, apparently has failed to see that” – says Anderson Antunes in his Forbes article about Virgin’s abuse on small entrepreneurs.
Attorney at law, Widerman Malek, summaries in his comments: “If Richard Branson has his way, it might be. ” He adds: “Although sometimes considered a bully in the trademark office, they remain unapologetic for their stance.”
According to multiple news reports, in the past several years, the Virgin group has targeted over 300 companies who used the word Virgin in their name, URL or marketing slogan. Unfortunately, many of these 300 companies are small businesses who do not have the resources to fight back against a multi-billion dollar company with hundreds or even thousands of lawyers on their retainer. These small businesses almost always settle simply because they cannot afford to fight.
Widerman Malek brings up some of the companies Virgin attacked:
Virgin Vapors – a small vapor company located in California whose owner currently refuses to change its name despite being threatened by Virgin.
The owners of domain names virginthreads.com, virginpublishing.com, virginstar.net, and virgincigar.com. The Virgin group alleges cyberpiracy for any company using the name virgin in their domain, even if it is not their business name.
Author Cristina Crayn, who named one of her published books, “Tales from the Virgin Vault.”
Virgin Valley Cab – a cab company in the Virgin Valley geographic location of Northwest Arizona, who recently came to an agreement with conglomerate to stop using the name.
Las Virgenes United Educational Foundation – a nonprofit organization in the Las Virgenes School District. The Virgin Group attempted to block the trademark application. Evidently, any virgin will meet their criteria – no matter which language it’s in and if destroying charities for children is to take place.
I Am Not A Virgin – a New York clothing company which specializes in creating and selling denim products.
Virgin Air, a small airline in the American Virgin Islands, which no longer exists under this name due to Virgin’s lawsuits.
CBS Studios, who may be opposed by the Virgin Group in an attempt to trademark the name Jane the Virgin, which they will use as a sitcom name.
Last year, the Virgin group attempted to stop Valle Grande from trademarking a phrase that contained the words “virgin olive oil”, using the argument that Valle Grande currently only sells vinegar.
In 2004, the conglomerate sued a tiny apparel retailer called Virgin Threads in federal court in New York; the retailer dropped the name a year later as they could not afford to battle with Virgin any longer.
VIRGINIC – Purity Perfected – small cosmetics brand, selling “beyond organic”, handcrafted, allergy-free face creams in small batches. Virgin has been suing them with malicious, aggressive litigations, on the ongoing basis from 2018-2020 in multiple countries to starve them financially to business death, as Virgin did with other start ups. Interestingly, Virgin abandoned selling cosmetics years ago making public statements on their own website that they have no intention to sell beauty products. As of July 2020, VIRGINIC still refuses to be bullied and to give up their name.
The statement raised by all victims by Richard Branson and Virgin Group seem to be constant: they don’t feel it’s morally right to give up their start-up brands, hard work and dreams, just because there is a bully that says so.
“Why is Richard Branson trying to put us out of business?” – denim jeans company founder Peter Heron asked in this video posted to YouTube where he reads the harassment letter he has received from Richard Branson.
His video got over 13,000 supporters signing under it with their own name, encouraging Mr. Heron to not give up. Sadly, his brand was forced to surrender a year. Well done, Virgin lawyers, one more target destroyed.
Louisville, Kentucky, 2020-Jul-16 — /REAL TIME PRESS RELEASE/ — When it comes to big business versus small business, the deck is, and always has been, heavily stacked in favor of the giants, making sure it stays that way. Yes, there will always be David and Goliath stories held up as the reason for hope in these battles, but reality dictates that they are almost insurmountable obstacles in the path of a small entrepreneur.
There is, however, a more insidious and corruptive side to the competition that few, if any, really see or understand at all. The legal teams.
Companies like The Virgin Group and Sir Richard Branson retain the type of law firms that see no ethical issue in destroying anything and anyone on their way, no matter the cost, the merits and the human lives and dreams destroyed along the way.
Take billing, for example. Virgin Enterprises uses Norvell IP and A. A. Thornton, type of companies that sees fit to charge by the half hour for anything that they do, including a single phone call, running up bills of around $300 per call. Yes, you read that correctly…$300 PER CALL! Equally absurdly, they charge the same to write a letter, to attend a meeting or to send an email!
Ok, so Virgin and Sir Richard is worth billions, they can afford these costs and who cares? It’s their choice and their wallet, right?
Well, no. They make their pray pay for it.
The thing is, as the relentless (and oftentimes frivolous) stream of trademark infringement lawsuits are filed across the globe, those costs are, almost exclusively borne not by Virgin, but by the small business that they are making their claim against.
Take the case of Wyoming start-up, VIRGINIC LLC. Virgin decided, as they have done on so many occasions in the past, that they were unhappy with the UK Intellectual Property Office awarding VIRGINIC LLC their own brand trademark “VIRGINIC”. For a little context, let’s not forget that this is the same company that sued a Virgin Olive Oil producer, the TV show “Jane The Virgin” and even a Non-profit Educational Foundation, “Las Virgenes” for children, staffed entirely by volunteer parents! If you’re like most people, this alone can leave anyone speechless. Clearly, Virgin is not afraid to throw their litigation budget around even against non-profit children care foundations.
So, Virgin took umbrage to the idea of a company VIRGINIC LLC, regardless of the fact that the UKIPO had already awarded their trademark for their name to them. Virgin attacked and yet again the UK courts decided that there was no case to be heard and VIRGINIC should keep their own trademark.
Virgin lost the case, and the subsequent appeal, with VIRGINIC being awarded the princely sum of £300 in costs, and that, in any sensible judicial process, should have been that. However, Virgin’s lawyers managed to get the UK High Court of Appeals to agree to review the appeal of the case which, upon doing so, intrestingly awarded in favor of Virgin this third time around.
And here is the fun part; When VIRGINIC, a small “David” went up against the behemoth “Goliath” of Virgin and managed to not only show that common sense is still alive and well in some legal systems, but managed to do it on a shoestring budget, whilst a mammoth task and stupendous result given the odds, it appears that the ultimately necessary penny-pinching that all start-ups are likely to be forced to adopt, is the largest chink in their armor.
The reason for this is simple: Virgin lose and the judge awards costs in the order of £300 to the start-up. £300 which Virgin never actually saw fit to pay, regardless of the fact that they spend so much time in courtrooms arguing that their rights are being infringed upon and crowing for justice. This in itself is a pointer towards where this all goes wrong. You see, they cry foul and plead for justice as if the courtroom is a sacred place where all shall find their truth. In reality, when that truth is contrary to their opinion, they simply disregard the orders of the court and find somebody else to cry to.
Now, what happens when, at the third time of asking, they manage to find themselves a “friendly” judge? Well, their costs are awarded against VIRGINIC in the sum of…
Ready for this…?
£33,000 + £10,000!
With no right to appeal any further, conveniently.
So, Virgin “loses” and the bill is £300. I would guess that the lawyers charging $300 to make a phone call would probably be happy to pay that off themselves with the cash that they dropped down the sofa last night. However, when VIRGINIC loses, all those cups of coffee that the world’s most expensive secretaries were making suddenly add up to a sum of £43,000, so exorbitant, so utterly defiant of anything even approaching a reality that is in any way sustainable, that all suddenly becomes so very clear.
Virgin and, more importantly, Virgin’s lawyers LOVE finding random reasons to drag volnurable, small businesses (and apparently non-profit foundations too) into a courtroom because it is a no-loss situation for them. They literally don’t even bother paying the measly costs generated if they lose (Virgin pays) whilst running up such absurd bills themselves that, if they win, the small business is basically financially crippled to the point where it either ceases to exist or exists only for the purposes of paying off the legal bills. Small educational foundations like “Las Virgenes” for children, staffed entirely by volunteer parents are a no match with this malice legal practice backed by deep pockets of Virgin.
Is there a happy ending here? VIRGINIC is well off its knees trying to write one as we speak. Keep your fingers crossed and maybe the Wyoming case will prove more uncorrupted justice system in the US than the UK one.
International Consortium of Investigative Journalism
Austin, Texas, 2020-Jun-09 — /REAL TIME PRESS RELEASE/ — Hypocrisy continues. Richard Branson claims to support small entrepreneurs and yet Virgin lawyers attack and destroy small start-ups.
Jolly Santa figure or a Business Bully?
Common sense says that the word ‘virgin’ cannot be owned by one individual or organization. After suing VIRGINIC, will Virgin now go after British Virgin Islands, the country? Or after Madonna for a song “Like a Virgin?”. Welcome to the Jungle where you can hire the most ruthless and manipulative lawyers, shall your deep pockets allow the cost.
Richard Branson, he of the goatee beard, shaggy hair and permanently fixed grin is not a man who needs to worry about money. His personal net worth is as of 2020 approximately 4.2 billion USD according to Google. The Virgin Group had an annual turnover in 2016 of around 25 billion USD. The Group’s business interests extend, to use the legal phrase, ad coelum et ad inferos. For those of us without a Classical education, that means up to heaven and down to hell, from trains on the ground to telecommunications in the atmosphere around us up to commercial space flight, Virgin has many fingers in many pies.
Of the many classes of goods and services marketed under the Virgin name cosmetics is not one of them. In June 2009, Virgin explicitly announced its intent to not use any mark containing the term “Virgin” in connection with the sale of cosmetics, skincare, and beauty products by announcing that it was “moving away from glamorous adventures in this particular retail sector.” A crystal clear statement of intent that stands to this day as Virgin still doesn’t sell cosmetics under the Virgin name and has long abandoned its mark with respect to cosmetics and skincare goods.
Enter stage right VIRGINIC LLC. Virginic was created two and a half years ago and is a startup specializing in mission-based, allergy-free, chemical-free beauty products with “virginic” level of purity, sold strictly through ecommerce channels. Small company with big ethos of superior standards of ingredients purity and ethics, vegan and unprocessed. Despite the fact that Virgin has no current or future interest in goods of this type, and that VIRGINIC is a different brand name than Virgin, Virgin has been aggressively pursuing a frankly absurd and bullying course of action against VIRGINIC for the past 2 years.
The logos of the two companies look nothing alike, the name of VIRGINIC is not similar and no person is going to think their VIRGINIC face cream has anything at all to do with Virgin Atlantic airline. There is no reason for Virgin to maliciously keep trying to destroy a company like VIRGINIC. It poses no threat whatsoever to Virgin’s business interests or to consumers but it is under attack by an army of lawyers in multiple countries, where employees are spied by lawyers, their linkedin profiles invigilated and people straight abused.
This sad state of affairs began when VIRGINIC LLC applied to register their trademark in the UK. In January 2018 the mark was accepted and published in the Trade Marks Journal in respect of Class 03, which covers cosmetics and skincare goods. The UK IPO governmental trademark officer accepted the trademark as it concluded no marketplace confusion nor even similarity. Virgin opposed it despite the fact that it does not sell cosmetics. As any reasonable person would expect, Virgin’s opposition failed, another senior UK IPO specialist decided VIRGINIC wins for a second time on the basis that the average consumer would not make a connection between VIRGINIC chemical-free cosmetics and Virgin Mobile.
However Virgin has massive resources and aggressive lawyers who appealed to the UK Court claiming that the original hearing officer was incorrect and his decision should be overturned. Additionally, aiming to destroy at all cost and against all merits, the lawyers attacked further demanding $50,000 from VIRGINIC.
Thomas M Monagan from Norvell IP, USA, together with Geo Hussey from A.A. Thornton in UK continued by opening more lawsuits in the USs and UK, serving litigation papers to unrelated companies that managers of VIRGINIC used to work for, all to harass the small company to the extreme point so they give up and destroy themselves on Virgin’s request. Virgin also hired a private investigators, as they disclosed to Court in Wyoming, to find out where employees and managers physically live.
In May 2020 same lawyers served VIRGINIC employees lawsuits via their private Linkedin profiles and to random email addresses found on the internet. Such actions could have been a Monty Python sketch, but sadly these days lawyers are apparently allowed to invade people’s privacy.
VIRGINIC stood strong and refused to be destroyed. A fight with multi billion dollar bully can cause significant hardship to any startup in its early stages. While Virgin has the resources to indulge in frivolous and harassing court cases, VIRGINIC does not.
This could bring any other company to its knees, halting operations and causing the lay offs of valuable and experienced staff, impacting the company and making its people jobless. Malicious lawyers applying a technique of continued harassment to burden financial resources of a smaller company and take an emotional toll on its staff is a technique called bullying. Where VIRGINIC should be concentrating on growing and developing its allergy-free and ethically-sourced products, which could change the face of the beauty industry, it is instead being forced to fight for its very survival even though it has done nothing against Virgin whatsoever.
Virgin’s lack of good faith and attempts of its lawyers to harass and destroy is even more clear looking at Virgin’s long history of trademark abuse. Even a cursory search of online sources will reveal multiple examples of trademark abuse and bullying small start ups.
However, like Pandora’s box, hope and VIRGINIC’s resilience is the one thing that remains. Hope that in Wyoming Court the common sense, merits and fairness will prevail in the law being applied in the spirit it was intended. The law need to let us hope that vindication will come in a win for VIRGINIC and continued growth and success in its pursuits of making the world better, one cream at a time.
International Consortium of Investigative Reporters
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